UPPER SADDLE RIVER, N.J. — Iris Shamus of Upper Saddle River gets some sisterly help spreading the word about her AllerMates products for kids with health conditions.
Her sister is none other than Siggy Flicker of “The Real Housewives of New Jersey.”
And the products, which help kids with asthma, allergies, diabetes and other conditions, are colorful and cool.
Flicker recently gave a shout-out on social media:
My little sis created @allermates — adorable medical awareness bracelets and medicine cases for kids with allergies, asthma and other health concerns. ... Wow! I'm so proud of you, IRIS!
The help is appreciated but it was another family story that inspired the line itself.
Shamus’ son Ben, now 13, has severe food allergies.
“When he was in preschool, there was an incident in his class where another child, also with food allergies, was given a snack that contained his allergens,” Shamus recalled.
The unpredictability of allergic reactions scares Shamus, right up to the ultimate one — anaphylaxis, an acute, whole body reaction to an allergen.
“A mother always lives in fear that her child will have a reaction and it will be a full-blown anaphylaxis, which can be fatal,” Shamus said.
“That’s always in the back of your mind with every morsel they eat.”
So she shopped around for something Ben could wear — something that would remind other people about his health when she wasn’t around.
She found nothing for kids.
Nothing fun. Or trendy.
That’s how AllerMates came to be.
Shamus’ colorful, kid-friendly products are in more than 7,000 locations nationwide, mostly at CVS.
There’s a reason sister Siggy is so enthused about AllerMates.
“Siggy has gone into anaphylaxis. That’s why she’s so passionate,” Shamus explained.
“She’d never been allergic to anything. Then one day she just couldn’t eat sesame seeds. She was at a Mediterranean Israeli restaurant in Tenafly and then she was in the hospital.”
In the spring, Shamus said, AllerMates will expand its medicine case line to difference sizes and styles, some for older kids.