BugaBees app teaches children about food allergies

TECHNOLOGY
Helping kids handle food allergies
“The BugaBees: Friends with Food Allergies,” for iOS and Android

Being the only kid in class with an allergy can feel in­cred­ibly lonely. A smartphone and tablet app offers help by introducing such kids to virtual friends who can relate.

“Food allergies are never fun, but best friends always are!” exclaims the BugaBees app ($4.99, iOS and Android), based on the popular children’s book series by Amy Recob. If those best friends happen to have allergies too, even better.

The app features such characters as Beetle, Cricket and Butterfly, who “always have fun and . . . never feel blue, unless they eat foods they’re allergic to,” the app says.

Each character has an allergy to one of the eight most common allergenic foods — peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, milk, soy, eggs or wheat. According to the app’s creators, these foods account for 90 percent of all allergic reactions in the United States.

Children can use the interactive story to learn how to recognize symptoms of an allergic reaction and how to manage their allergies. They can also help the BugaBees make safe, healthy food choices. For example, they can help Beetle, who is allergic to milk, choose among carrots, cow’s milk, pizza, strawberries and dairy yogurt. (Hint: Carrots and strawberries are safe for Beetle.)

The BugaBees app features Beetle, Cricket and Butterfly, who have food allergies. Children can help the characters choose safe, healthy food options. (Courtesy of The BugaBees)

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