Kids' food allergies place heavy burden on families

Published: Friday, Sept. 20 2013 1:30 p.m. MDT

Expenses like extra doctor visits and allergy-free foods add up to $4,184 per food-allergic child per year.

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The cumulative national cost of children with food allergies is $24.8 billion annually, according to a new study in the medical journal JAMA Pediatrics.

These expenses — a burden that falls almost entirely on families — average out to $4,184 annually for every child with food allergies, according to the study.

“While other studies have investigated the economic toll of food allergies, few have studied in detail how these costs affect a family's finances,” Alexandra Sifferlin reported Tuesday for Time.com. “… For the new estimate, the researchers looked at both direct medical costs like hospital visits, co-payments and medication purchases, as well as other costs that are unique to families of children with food allergies — including special child care arrangements, allergy-friendly summer camps and even changing schools.”

The Los Angeles Times’ Karen Kaplan wrote, “The biggest cost by far was the money parents gave up by staying out of the workforce, taking lesser jobs or otherwise restricting their careers to accommodate their children’s medical condition. Among the parents surveyed, 9.1 percent said they had incurred some type of work-related opportunity cost. (Some parents even said they’d been fired as a result of dealing with their kids’ allergies.) Altogether, these costs added up to $14 billion a year.”

Email: jaskar@desnews.com

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