New Anaphylaxis Smartphone App for Youth

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App Savvy Youth Makes a Difference for Teens with Food Allergies

TORONTO, ON – August 8, 2013 – Like most computer science students, Nick Pothier sees the opportunities that smartphone apps can create for young developers. However, this 19 year-old University of New Brunswick student has channeled his knowledge of app making for good – not profit. Nick has had life-threatening food allergies his entire life and wanted to use his knowledge to create an app that would help pre-teens, teens and young adults learn more about serious food allergies.

Title Screen WhyRiskIt? App

The “WhyRiskIt?” food allergy education app was created by Nick over the course of four months in partnership with Anaphylaxis Canada – a national non-profit organization dedicated to education and advocacy for those at risk for anaphylaxis.  It is a free app that is currently only available for the Android operating system. It features life saving information that should be on the fingertips of every allergic youth such as signs and symptoms of anaphylaxis, treatment and emergency procedures.

Nick’s hope is that the app will provide easy to access information for teens with allergies so that they can be safer and take fewer risks with their allergies. “I believe this app will be very effective for educating teens about allergies since more and more are owning cell phones and tablets which go everywhere with them.”

The app also features a live stream from the WhyRiskIt? blog which features stories, tips and advice from other allergic youth on Anaphylaxis Canada’s Youth Advisory Panel.

Nick Pothier - App Developer

Nick Pothier – App Developer

Anaphylaxis Canada recently awarded Nick with the Sabrina Shannon Memorial Award for his efforts raising awareness for youth with food allergies including class projects and even a food allergy video game. The annual award recognizes post-secondary students who have made a difference in raising allergy awareness in their communities.

Kyle Dine, Anaphylaxis Canada’s youth project coordinator, is proud of Nick and his efforts. “It’s incredible the amount of time he put into this app, as well as our Youth Advisory Panel who reviewed it every step of the way,” said Dine. “This is truly an app made by allergic youth, for allergic youth.”

The WhyRiskIt? App is available for download in the Google Play store by searching “WhyRiskIt?” or “Anaphylaxis Canada”. Nick looks forward to working on making the app available on iPhones soon.

About Anaphylaxis Canada
Anaphylaxis Canada is a non-profit charitable organization dedicated to helping those at risk for anaphylaxis and those who care for them. The organization is committed to creating a safer world for people with life-threatening allergies through education, advocacy, and research. For more information, visit www.anaphylaxis.ca.

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For more information please contact:

Christopher Holcroft
Empower Consulting, for Anaphylaxis Canada
416-996-0767
Christopherholcroft@hotmail.ca

Allergies at Work

Hello everyone! My name is Nick, and I’m an 18-year-old with severe allergies to peanuts and all tree nuts.

Recently, I finished my first year of university and received a summer job working as a Business Analyst. It has been a brand new experience for me, since it’s my first time working in an office.

Office with computer terminals

When I started work, one of the questions that popped up in my head was, “What was I going to do about my allergies?” Despite it being a totally new experience, I treated the situation like I was at high school or university. Spreading knowledge is the best defense against allergic reactions!

The first thing that I did was let Human Resources know that I had a peanut and tree nut allergy before I started work. This was convenient, since they were going to host a lunch for the students who were working for them, and they were able to make it allergy safe. Then I told my supervisor and the people who I sat around. I told them that I carry an epinephrine auto-injector, and I explained how to use it in the case of a reaction. Lastly, I followed the same allergy smart practices I would follow in any other situation, by reading food labels whenever food was offered and asking for ingredient information when not provided. Hopefully, I should have a safe and fun summer!!

For more tips on staying safe at work, check out these links:

And don’t forget to tell us about your experiences with allergies at work, by leaving a comment below.

I hope that you enjoyed my blog post, and I wish you all an allergy safe summer!

Starting University

Hello everyone! My name is Nick. I have allergies to peanuts and tree nuts. I just started university and I was able to successfully have a fun and safe frosh week. 

For me, going to university was a pretty big step. Going to university meant that I was pretty far away from home. I was very nervous the week before frosh week. Lots of questions went through my mind (“Will I have fun?”, “Will I fit in?”, “Will I find friends?” and of course “Will I have problems with my allergies?”). Previously I had an allergy test before I left home and it confirmed that I was still severely allergic to peanuts and all nuts, which only worsened my fear.

Once frosh week started, I was able to calm down and have fun. Right off the bat I met some great friends. As for my allergies, I was very cautious. I ALWAYS wore my epinephrine to events and I doubled checked what was being served making sure it was nut free. If there was any chance of the food having nuts or peanuts, I avoided it and I ate elsewhere after the event. I would let my friends know about my allergy to make sure they know what to do if an allergic reaction occurred. In the end, I was able to have a safe and fun frosh week.

University was completely different then I expected. The classes are much shorter then high school and each day is a different schedule (e.g. I would have 5 classes one day and 1 class another). Being in university you have to be independent, there is no one looking after you. It’s the same with your allergies as well. You should always have epinephrine with you at all times and  have extra safe food handy. But if you’re like me and enjoy dining out, just make sure you ask the right questions, especially about cross contamination, and never take a chance with a food you are unsure of.

Overall this has been a successful and safe transition for me. In this time period I have learned how to become independent while managing my allergies in university while having a great time!