If you are looking for a allergy app to help manage your child’s allergies, you can’t go past Allergy Pal. Developed by allergy experts in Australia, this user-friendly app helps parents (and children) manage food and insect allergies. And easily share vital allergy information with others. Highly recommended to us by our allergy nurse, we think it’s the best allergy app we’ve seen so far. It’s an essential tool to help keep children with allergies safe.
An allergy app developed by allergy specialists
We love that specialists developed this allergy app. Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (MRCI) created Allergy Pal in collaboration with leading allergy bodies, Allergy & Anaphylaxis Australia (A&AA) and the Australian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy (ASCIA). So not only is Allergy Pal medically reviewed, it has included input from Australia’s leading patient support organisation.
Allergy Pal is not just a food allergy app either. You can use it for other serious allergies such as insect allergies. It’s ideal for any allergy for which your child has been prescribed an epinephrine autoinjector (such as EpiPen or Anapen).
Allergy Pal Features
The Allergy Pal app is very user-friendly and easy to navigate. When you open the app, the home screen has clear icons for each of the features. When you click on the top section, it is a simple process to add your personal details to set up the app ready for use.
The first section of the Allergy Pal app is for personal information. The app will prompt you to enter or upload:
- your child’s name;
- a photo of your child;
- your child’s action plan (we uploaded a scan of our child’s ASCIA Action Plan for Anaphylaxis prepared by their allergy specialist – see below);
- emergency contact name and telephone number;
- details of your child’s adrenaline autoinjector(s). You can add more than one, and list where each is kept and the expiry date. Unfortunately the app didn’t have Anapen in the drop down menu (the newest autoinjector available in Australia), something that needs to be updated by the developers;
- medical practitioner’s name and medications listed on your action plan (for example, as well as EpiPen we also have an antihistamine dosage listed for mild to moderate reactions);
- your child’s allergens. The inbuild list of food allergens to chose from only includes 8 of the top 10 (does not include sesame or lupin), but there is the ability to add additional allergens. We used this to add sesame. Or if your child’s action plan is for a stinging insect allergy or medication, you can add that as a custom label as well.
Another great feature is that you can set up a profile for more than one child. If you have multiple family members with allergies, you can set up the personal information for each of them separately.
Allergy Action Plan
Once uploaded, you can access your personal allergy plan under the “My Action Plan” section. To upload an action plan, you will need to scan or photograph and have it in the photos on your phone.
The ability to upload an action plan for allergies or anaphylaxis is a fantastic tool. Not only is it brilliant for parents who want to share the plan with others looking after their child, it is also perfect for older children and teens who are more independent. If you child is out with friends and self-carrying their autoinjector, having their action plan readily available on their phone will be invaluable should they have a reaction and to refer to it.
*Our tip: don’t forget to upload your new action plan each time to keep the app up to date.
Tips for avoiding reactions
The “Avoid Reaction” section allows you to include personal tips and notes, including tips for parties and school. Some suggestions are included, such as safe restaurants or safe foods.
This part of the app is completely customisable so you can add any relevant notes you like. These can be reminders for you or notes to assist others who look after your child. Examples could be reminders to only allow your child to eat foods from home or to check with a parent first before letting them eat something provided away from home.
Under the “React Now” section you will find a check list of allergic reaction symptoms. The list includes symptoms of a severe reaction (for example difficult/noisy breathing, swelling/tightness in the throat) and signs of mild to moderate reactions. When you tick symptoms, the app has a button “Show Actions” which will then take you to relevant first aid instructions . These instructions are based on the ASCIA general plans for allergic reactions and anaphylaxis.
For mild to moderate reactions, the first aid instructions are provided as a numbered check list to tick off. This includes instructions to phone the family or emergency contact (with a button to make the call to the number recorded in the app). There is also a button prompt to recheck for any new symptoms (to monitor for a worsening reaction).
If you select any of the symptoms of a severe reaction, the app includes a clear check list of instructions for anaphylaxis treatment including:
- laying the person flat and not allowing them to stand or walk;
- how to administer the EpiPen (although again, this should be updated for Anapen);
- a button to call the ambulance;
- a button to call the family/emergency contact;
- advice on a second dose of epinephrine; and
- the importance of observation in hospital for at least 4 hours.
This is an incredibly useful tool, especially for people who are unfamiliar with action plans and allergic reactions. The step by step instructions give very clear guidance to anyone on what to do in case of a reaction.
Links to allergy education
The “Education & Podcasts” section of Allergy Pal has links to a host of useful allergy information. This includes podcasts from Professors Katie Allen and Mimi Tang from MCRI and a video library about managing allergies. Other educational links include information on anaphylaxis and how to administer an EpiPen. You can also read tips on eating out. Another useful topic is what to do after you have experienced an allergic reaction to food when eating out, including how to record and report this.
Easily share your child’s allergy information
One of the best features of the Allergy Pal is the ability to share your allergy information with others. By clicking on the share button at the bottom of the home page, you will be prompted to send a link to the app to any of your contacts. You can do this by SMS, email or any of the messaging apps available on your device.
You will not only be sharing the allergy app itself, but all of the personalised allergy information you have entered in the app for your child. This is such a quick and easy way to send relevant information to friends and family, parents hosting your child for a play date – anyone at all that needs to know how to keep your child safe.
Where to Download
This brilliant food allergy app is free to download and use. You can download it:
More practical steps to help make others aware of your child’s allergies
Letting others know about your child’s allergies and where to find their medication in an emergency is so important. Some of the other practical ways you can do this include:
- Putting allergy stickers on lunch boxes, drink bottles and other personal items;
- Using an EpiPen bag tag or key chain to help others find autoinjectors in an emergency;
- Wearing a medical alert ID to make first responders aware of severe allergies;
- For older children, recording allergies and emergency contact details on their smart phone (which can be accessed even when the phone is locked).
References and more information on the Allergy Pal App
For more information about the Allergy Pal App, see the following references we’ve referred to in this post:
For more allergy-friendly tips, don’t forget to subscribe to our emails!