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      Exploring Challenges and Opportunities to Support People with Food Allergies to Find Safe Places for Eating Out

      , ,

      Proceedings of the 32nd International BCS Human Computer Interaction Conference (HCI)

      Human Computer Interaction Conference

      4 - 6 July 2018

      Food Allergens, Food Allergy, Eating out, Dining out, Mobile application, Design, HCI, Crowdsourcing

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          Eating out can be problematic for people who have food allergies. For example, the fear of having an allergic reaction while eating out can cause anxiety and stress especially for young adults, impacting their personal and social life. To address this issue, we describe “AllergyFreeFoodie”, a crowdsourced mobile application that aims to support people with food allergies in searching for safe places for eating out. We present an initial prototype together with the results of a preliminary evaluation with 6 young adults in the UK. Based on early findings, we highlight some of the challenges that our participants face in their everyday life and some opportunities for the redesign of the application to promote an allergy-friendly environment for people with food allergies.

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          Most cited references 9

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          A qualitative study of families of a child with a nut allergy.

          The aim of this study was to explore, using qualitative methods, the experiences of children and their parents living with nut allergy.
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            Non-IgE mediated food allergy.

            Adverse reactions to dietary proteins (DPs) can impose a significant impact on one's daily life and can even affect the 'life style' of an entire family. Adverse reactions to DPs may or may not be immune-mediated. The immune-mediated adverse reaction to food is defined as food allergy (FA) which is roughly divided into IgE mediated or non-IgE mediated FA (NFA). As opposed to IgE mediated FA, NFA primarily affects the GI mucosa. In addition, there is far less of an understanding of NFA than IgE-mediated FA and its clinical relevance is likely under-estimated in most cases. This is partly due to delayed onset of symptoms and subsequent difficulty in making the clinical association between offending food and clinical symptoms. The lack of easily accessible diagnostic measures also contributes to the problem. The gut mucosal barrier is thought to have developed to execute an immensely difficult task; digestion and absorption of nutrients without provoking immune responses and cohabiting with commensal flora in a mutual beneficial relationship, while maintaining an immune defense against pathogenic microbes. The gut mucosal immune system accomplishes this task partly by establishing tolerance to macronutrients with potent immunogenecity. Immune tolerance to macronutrients (DPs) is maintained in part by active suppressive mechanisms involving antigen (Ag)-specific regulatory T (Treg) cells. This active immune tolerance state appears to be affected by various environmental factors such as change in commensal flora. In the first few years of life, humans gradually develop an intricate balance between tolerance and immune reactivity in the gut mucosa along with a tremendous expansion of gut associated lymphoid tissue (GALT). Not surprisingly, both IgE and non-IgE mediated food allergy (FA) is frequently seen during this period. The most common causative DPs for NFA are those contained in infant formulas (cow's milk and soy proteins). Unlike IgE mediated FA, NFA is rarely life-threatening. However, NFA to DPs can cause significant morbidity in rapidly growing infants and young children. A better understanding of pathogenesis of NFA is crucial for timely management of NFA in this vulnerable population. This review discusses the gut mucosal immune system in the first few years of life including genetic/environmental factors affecting the development of mucosal immune system and pathogenesis of NFA in association with clinical/laboratory findings.
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              “Design of software to support families with food-allergic and food-intolerant children”


                Author and article information

                July 2018
                July 2018
                : 1-5
                University of Leicester

                University Road, Le1 7RH, Leicester
                Fraunhofer Portugal AICOS

                R. Alfredo Allen 455, Porto, Portugal
                © Aluvathingal et al. Published by BCS Learning and Development Ltd. Proceedings of British HCI 2018. Belfast, UK.

                This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Unported License. To view a copy of this license, visit

                Proceedings of the 32nd International BCS Human Computer Interaction Conference
                Belfast, UK
                4 - 6 July 2018
                Electronic Workshops in Computing (eWiC)
                Human Computer Interaction Conference
                Product Information: 1477-9358BCS Learning & Development
                Self URI (journal page):
                Electronic Workshops in Computing


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