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Healthcare app reduces symptoms of COPD compared to regular treatment

The MyCOPD app can be used on laptops, smartphones or tablets. Credit: University of Southampton

A Southampton-developed healthcare app that helps people with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) manage their condition can speed up recovery after hospital admission and reduce flare-ups of symptoms, a newly published study has shown.

COPD is a common respiratory condition and one of the top causes of hospital admissions each year, particularly during winter months. In the UK it accounts for over 140,000 hospital admissions and one million bed days at a major cost to the NHS.

At a time when fewer people are able to access face-to-face consultations with their GPs and with conditions such as COPD need are shielding, these are very encouraging findings for the future of digital health services.

In this new study, 41 patients admitted to hospital with severe exacerbations of COPD were allocated into two groups, with one group receiving their regular treatments and the second group of patients set up with access to the MyCOPD app as well as receiving treatment as usual.

MyCOPD gives patients access to a broad range of services wherever they are in the world, without the need to travel to clinics or join waiting lists. These services include receiving education from , information on how factors such as pollen, pollution and the weather in their area could affect their condition and videos that demonstrate how to use inhalers correctly. Users also complete daily diaries of their symptoms and medication, which allows the app to help them identify when they are deteriorating and provide advice on appropriate courses of action.

The results of this latest trial, published in the journal NPJ Digital Medicine, showed that over the course of three months, the number of further exacerbations within the group using

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Legionella Tests: MedlinePlus Medical Test

What are Legionella tests?

Legionella is a type of bacteria that can cause a severe form of pneumonia known as Legionnaires’ disease. Legionella tests look for these bacteria in urine, sputum, or blood. Legionnaires’ disease got its name in 1976 after a group of people attending an American Legion convention became ill with pneumonia.

Legionella bacteria can also cause a milder, flu-like illness called Pontiac fever. Together, Legionnaires’ disease and Pontiac fever are known as legionellosis.

Legionella bacteria are found naturally in freshwater environments. But the bacteria can make people sick when it grows and spreads in man-made water systems. These include plumbing systems of large buildings, including hotels, hospitals, nursing homes, and cruise ships. The bacteria may then contaminate water sources, such as hot tubs, fountains, and air-conditioning systems.

Legionellosis infections happen when people breathe in mist or small drops of water that contain the bacteria. The bacteria do not spread from person to person. But a disease outbreak can occur when many people are exposed to the same contaminated water source.

Not everyone who is exposed to Legionella bacteria will get sick. You are more likely to develop an infection you are:

  • Over the age of 50
  • A current or former smoker
  • Have a chronic disease such as diabetes or kidney failure
  • Have a weakened immune system due to a disease such as HIV/AIDS or cancer, or are taking medicines that suppress the immune system

While Pontiac fever usually clears up on its own, Legionnaires’ disease can be fatal if not treated. Most people will recover if promptly treated with antibiotics.

Other names: Legionnaires’ disease testing, Legionellosis testing

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