College is a time when students suddenly have to fend for themselves — cooking, cleaning, and taking care of their health. Increasingly, students are turning to smartphone apps for health tracking and information. Apps are cheap, diverse, and easily accessible – all musts for the college demographic. These five apps for college are crucial to surviving those four years as a healthy human:
- SexPositive. It can be awkward to confront anyone — even a doctor — about s-e-x questions. University of Oregon created SexPositive to answer sex questions in the format, “What happens when my [blank] touches a [blank]?” The app gives safe sex and communication tips while highlighting the need for consent. It provides information about STIs and risks without moral judgments or heteronormativity. There’s often misinformation and negativity when it comes to discussing sexual acts in high school health classes. As one user said, “This [app] is not your mother’s sex education.” SexPositive is direct, real, and even fun to use. The app has YouTube videos ranging from how-to’s on open communication to funny videos on the indirectness of sex talk in America. It’s a great app for college students new to sex, and for students concerned about practicing safe sex.
- iTriage. Instead of having to run to the doctor or campus health center every time you’re feeling off, iTriage allows you to look up symptoms, causes, and treatments for many diseases and conditions. With iTriage, you can make appointments with physicians near your location and check wait times at local emergency rooms. You can also retain personal health records, preferred doctors, and prescriptions. The app was founded by physicians and reviewed by Harvard Medical School – so you can be sure the information is legitimate and based on the latest research. You can save money with this app by avoiding the cost of unnecessary doctor’s visits, and by using the iTriage pharmacy discount program.
- BeerGut Fitness. Everyone dreads the Freshmen Fifteen, especially in the form of a beer gut. To avoid the bulge, BeerGut Fitness Tracks the calories of your drinks and the calories you burn with exercise. Essentially, based on how much you worked out that day — which you track under the Exercise tab — the app tells you how many drinks you can have that night. It’s deceptively easy to gain weight with alcohol because it is a liquid and often consumed in large quantities. Many people are unaware of how many calories each drink contains. One point of caution: this app is that it doesn’t take into account alcohol percentage. That is, if someone burned 1512 calories, they would “earn” 14 light beers or 15 white wines according to the app. But that is clearly on the alcohol-poisoning end of the drinking spectrum, so be aware of alcohol proof — not just calories!
- FirstDerm. College is a time when students are at increased risk for the development of stubborn acne issues, STIs, and the emergence of new skin problems. FirstDerm allows you to quickly and easily treat any skin condition based on the information provided by a team of board-certified dermatologists. This app is especially useful for studying abroad when you don’t have access to your doctor back home. If a skin issue pops up, you can simply take two pictures of your condition, send it in, and get a response within 24 hours no matter where you are. Instead of waiting in line at an expensive dermatology office, or going to primary care and getting a referral à la Kaiser, FirstDerm lets you skip the wait and the expense and gets you directly to an expert opinion.
- FitnessBuilder. Maybe you played a sport in high school, but now there is no time for pick-up soccer or running on the track. FitnessBuilder has over 900 workouts and 7,000 videos with step-by-step breakdowns. The app tracks your workouts, body measurements, and progress. If you need a little competition to motivate you, you can compare results with friends on the FitnessFeed. For creative folk, Builder allows you to create your own exercise plan based on stock images and videos. Pro Access puts you in touch with personal trainers and coaches to help you meet your goal. This app is great for staying in shape and motivating you to exercise after a long day of class and studying.
Busy college students who are suddenly in charge of their own health don’t want to have to spend extra time and money worrying about their wellbeing. Apps are an effective method of tracking our health and getting answers fast, whether it be a question about sex, unsightly rashes, or fear of the Freshmen Fifteen.
The Specialist doctor from the University Hospital in Gothenburg, alumnus UC Berkeley. My doctoral dissertation is about Digital Health and I have published 5 scientific articles in teledermatology and artificial intelligence and others.