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Food allergy app helps moms and kids

Nuts, eggs, milk, wheat and soy.  They're the most common allergens.  Just consider the numbers, one out of every 13 children has a food allergy. That averages out to about two kids in every classroom.

"A recent study we did found, of all kids with food allergies, half of them have been to the emergency room in every classroom," says Dr. Ruchi Gupta a Pediatrician with Lurie Children's Hospital. 

Susie Hultquist is a mom and app developer. Her 14 year old daughter lives with life threatening peanut allergies. It's something they both learned about when Natalie first tried peanut butter at three years old.

"She was wheezing, coughing. We did not even know what an auto injector was. We didn't have one in our home. It came down on us pretty hard to hear how her life was going to change. A lot of work went in to just try to let her live the fullest life possible. But then as life went on, it was things like wanting to attend overnight camp or go on a trip with a friend.  As a middle schooler, wanting to go with her friends to get an ice cream cone,' says Hultquist.

 The questions an the fear though, sparked an idea.

 "I've always felt that there was a mom out there just like me who had a peanut and tree nut allergic child that probably had a bunch of restaurants she could recommend. Or if she was going to come to Chicago, I could recommend to her, but we didn't know each other." 

 Now they do and thousands even millions more.  They are all connected through an app Susie created called Spokin. It's a forum for the food allergy community, personalized for each user.  

 "You'll see food products and recipes that match your food allergies. It's hard work to be able to figure that out, and in seconds to be able to see what other people are recommending. It's very helpful," says Hultquist.

According to WGN-TV, there are recommendations for restaurants, groceries, hotels, airlines and resorts.

"There's so much knowledge in the food allergy community and we're harnessing that," says Hultquist.

The Spokin app is free and available for IOS users.  Susie is raising funds to build the app for the android mobile operating system.  

 

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