Julianne Ponan, CEO of leading free-from food brand Creative Nature and campaigner for allergy sufferers, has been named as the UK face of an app aimed at saving lives.
The Teal App launches in the UK today (30 November) and is for those who live with life-threatening allergies and their loved ones. It can even save the life of an allergy sufferer who goes into anaphylactic shock.
:When you go into anaphylactic shock," Julianne said, "you have to act quickly because your life depends on it. However, what if you are on your own, or in another country where you don't speak the language or in a strange place and you don't know where the nearest hospital is? It's sheer luck if it happens and you have someone with you who knows what to do."
This app, which is free to download with added membership benefits, includes the ability to automatically dial the emergency services, while alerting emergency contacts as well as providing easily accessible information about a user's allergies. It translates critical allergy information into 50 different languages using 'cards' within the app. This provides information helpful to medical professionals or anyone trying to be a Good Samaritan to support someone who has gone suddenly into anaphylactic shock.
Julianne has been asked to be the UK Ambassador because she is an active campaigner for allergy sufferers in the UK.
"We still have some way to go here to support, empower and include those of us who live with allergies day in, day out. When you have to consider your food, your environment and the behaviour of those around you - which could actually kill you - life can be exhausting and isolating. This app is designed to help with anyone who might find themselves alone at the worst of times," Julianne said.
"Allergies are on the rise worldwide, particularly allergies to food. It's unclear why that is the case - it's been suggested it may be because we have become 'too clean'; however no one knows for sure."
The Teal App is the brainchild of American businessman Joey DiGangi (25) who lives near State College, Pennsylvania, and Caron Pollard of London, who founded The Coza Group. Joey has a nut allergy which was identified when he was a baby. He went into anaphylactic shock when his parents unknowingly gave him ice cream which contained traces of nuts.
However it was years later while he was working for a software company in Taiwan that he almost died after eating cross-contaminated food from a street stall.
"If it was not for my work colleagues that day who realised what was happening and got me to the hospital and then translated for me, I would not be here. I went into shock within 20 minutes of consuming that food. When I sat in the hospital recovering I thought what if I'd been alone? What if I didn't have anyone to support me? I didn't speak the language, I didn't know how to access medical help quickly, I realised I'd been very, very lucky and that's the day I started to take my allergy very seriously. I made notes on what could have happened and designed the app around this."
Caron said: "My daughter Aoife has life-threatening allergies to dairy, eggs, nuts, fish - and suffers from eczema. The first year of her life was a trauma for me, for her dad and for her too. I felt all at sea when I tried to educate myself about food allergies. Life was so difficult, an uphill battle every day to minimise the risks for her. She is now almost four years old and I will do anything to keep her safe. After finding our journey and struggles to be similar to other allergy-affected families in the UK with a void in daily support, it provided an opportunity to develop and bring the app to the UK with Joey and Julianne’s support."
The Teal App is now accessible via web browser and available for download on both the App Store and Google Play Store. For more information visit https://teal-app.com
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