New app created by local family helps children with allergies

Peanut allergy affects about 2% of the children in the United States, and those numbers appear to be growing.

New guidelines released Thursday now suggest introducing some infants to peanut-containing foods as a way to prevent food allergies, a technique validated by the Learning Early About Peanut allergy, or LEAP, study.

A serious peanut allergy can lead to anaphylaxis and, rarely, even death, which means some parents avoided introducing peanuts to their children.

Naturally, the next question is: Can a similar technique prevent other common allergies, such as milk, or even uncommon ones?

The answer is yet to be known but in the interim there is an app for that.

A South Florida parent is now using technology to fend off food allergies.

The app is called AllerCheck. Using your cell phone you can search or scan a food product in an instant to determine if a food is safe to eat for a person with food allergies.

"This energy bar has cocoa butter. Butter is an allergen," said Christopher Miquel as he scanned a protein bar.

For Miquel knowing what is in this food could be a matter of life or death, if it were to get into the wrong hands.

"I have two kids with allergies. My son Antonio has a dairy allergy and my daughter Victoria has a nut allergy," said Miquel. "Over the years, it has been a struggle to deal with. What they can eat or what they can't."

That is why Miquel created AllerCheck. A customizable smartphone app that lets users know if a food contains a particular allergen.

"The biggest issue is when they go out to a friends house or a family members house to make sure they know what they can and can't eat," added Miquel. "That has been the biggest issue when they are away from us."

So how does it work?

First you create a profile for the person with a food allergy and select the allergens.

"Peanuts and tree nuts for my daughter," selects Miquel.

Then scan or search for a potential snack. The app will then alert you in red if the food is a no go.

"It highlights the allergen and the person allergic to it," explained Miquel.

Users also have the option to share their child's food profiles, favorite snacks and approved grocery lists with others.

"I like the idea of being able to share all of that information with our friends or family or anyone else that needs that information."

The app is now in beta testing as developers are continuing to add thousands of foods and even restaurant options. AllerCheck is expected to be available in the App Store by the end of the year.

Parents can download the app for free from their website.

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