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Personal Health Journals

Increasingly residents living near industrial noise sources are finding it beneficial to keep detailed personal health journals. It helps them to better understand the evolving pattern of their symptoms and better identify whether the noise is causally related to the symptoms they and other family members are experiencing.

Diaries have also long been used by acousticians to try and determine the source of the noise from people’s complaints.

We recommend advising your patients to keep a personal health journal.

How to keep a journal

What to record in:

You can advise your patient to record their journal in two ways:

  • Exercise book – find an exercise book or something similar. Whatever it is, make sure they use this book only for recording their health data. That way everything is in the one place and it won’t be confused with other information.
  • Computer spreadsheet – use a program like Microsoft Excel (or similar) and record the symptoms electronically. If they use this method, we recommend printing the spreadsheet or backing up the file every so often.
  • Keep individual family members records separate, as everyone will be affected differently.

What to record:

  • Date
  • Time
  • Blood pressure (if relevant)
  • Heart rate (if relevant)
  • Detailed description of symptoms. This could include:
    • what the symptoms feels like
    • what they are doing at the time the symptoms occur
    • how long the symptoms last, and
    • anything else they think is relevant
  • Weather conditions (eg low cloud, cold frosty night, warm sunny day, wind less day, rain etc)
  • Wind direction
  • Estimated wind speed where they are located on the ground. For example: no wind, light breeze, strong or gale

WHEN TO RECORD:

Very importantly, it is best that your patients record their symptoms at the time they are experiencing them.