Need an extra push to quit smoking? Next time grab your iPhone instead of a cigarette.
There are more than 60 apps to help smokers kick the habit. Look for apps to help you go cold turkey, apps that double as subliminal tools, even apps with inspirational words from the Bible to get you through cravings.
But that's just the beginning. The Apple App Store is loaded with all kinds of health apps, from the practical to the absurd. Some translate lab test results or offer first-aid advice. There are apps for pet emergencies and some that stop just short of diagnosing symptoms. For those who are sleep deprived, there's even a sheep counting app. for that.
With so many health-related apps available, sorting out the ones that can make life a little easier from those that are just waste of time can be challenging.
Here are some apps that can make staying healthy a little easier. Or at the very least, a lot more fun.
What it does: Keeps track of how long you have been smoke-free and how much money you've saved since kicking the habit. Simply enter the cost of your favorite pack, how much you smoked a day and the program tracks how much you have saved since then. If dollar signs motivate you, this could do the trick.
2. iBP blood pressure
Cost: 99 cents
What it does: If you're worried about your blood pressure, tracking it daily will give you a clear picture of where you stand. This app makes it easy. Besides tracking the data, it also analyzes it, and the information is easy to read. Color icons show you when your values are too high, normal or too low.
Cost: 99 cents
What it does: Think of this app as a mini version of the eye chart on the wall of your optometrist's office. If the first line or giant E is blurry, brace yourself for some bad news: You're legally blind and should see an optometrist. It also identifies flaws in the vision colorblindness test. It's not going to replace a visit to your optometrist, but for 99 cents, it's an easy way to check your vision.
Cost: 99 cents
What it does: Your doctor prescribes a drug that you have never heard of. Before you ever leave the exam room, you can see if there's a cheaper, generic version available. This handy app contains information on more than 6,000 common drugs. Before you ever get to your pharmacy, you can look up dosages, adverse reactions, drug interactions and overdosing. You also can save a list of the drugs that you take or e-mail that information.
5. iMedical lab tests
What it does: Say you just got back lab results on your blood test. Use this app to see if the lab values are normal. The app includes common tests for red blood cells, electrolytes, lipids and hormones.
6. Zen timer -- Meditation timer
What it does: During the middle of a crazy day, just find a quiet spot, pull up this app and meditate to the soothing sound of the Tibetan singing bowl. Or choose from seven bells that can be set to ring once, twice or three times. When you're finished meditating, you can take notes on the experience and return to life, refreshed.
7. Pocket first aid and CPR from the American Heart Association
What it does: Forget your handy first-aid manual. This app goes where no book ever could by providing how-to videos. It also is loaded with information and illustrations that come in handy during an emergency. It tells you what to do in case of seizures, diabetic comas, bites, bruises, choking and dozens of other scenarios.
8. Pet first aid for your dog, cat, puppy or kitten
What it does: Your dog steps on a piece of glass during his daily walk. Or your cat gets yarn stuck in his throat. With this app, you can find out how to provide emergency care. It includes all kinds of injuries, from bites to poisonings. Detailed videos, step-by-step illustrations and instructions make this the go-to app when your pet is in trouble.
What it does: Cook Children's Health Care System delivers an app loaded with information you can trust. When it's 3 a.m. and you're wondering whether to go to the ER or wait until morning, this app can help. Besides reliable information, the app can even give you directions to the nearest clinic.
10. WebMD mobile
What it does: This popular app does it all. There's a symptom checker, pill identifier and tons of information on diseases, medications and treatments. It obviously does not provide medical advice or a diagnosis, but it's a good place to start when you wondering whether that rash needs to be seen by a doctor.
11. Bones, Joints & Muscles
What it does: If you're wondering why your knee is swollen or your wrist is stiff, download this app. It's geared toward medical types, but laypeople can benefit as well. There's information on everything from gout to arthritis, along with illustrations. Like all of the health-related apps, it is only for informational purposes and does not replace professional medical advice.
iMapMyWalk, iMapMyRide, iMapMyRun, iMapMyHike
What it does: The app uses GPS technology to track a slew of outdoor fitness activities. Pick your passion and go. As soon as you hit the road, it starts mapping your path and recording essential data, such as distance, pace, speed and duration. An interactive map lets you see where you are and where you have been. You can also e-mailing your workout data to your friends or post it on Twitter. All the information can be synchronized online at iMapMyFitness.com, where there's even more information to keep you on track.
JAN JARVIS, 817-390-7664