Category Archives: children with food allergies

Tremendous cost of children’s food allergies estimated at almost $25 Billion!

FoodFacts.com has always been dedicated to helping those with food allergies determine what is actually safe for them to eat. Our website allows members to track their allergens and those of their loved ones and children for free, so that they can be alerted if a product they’ve purchased or are intending to purchase contains the ingredient harmful to them or their families. Children’s food allergies are, undoubtedly, the most concerning. They can range from mild to moderate to severe. And just this past summer, the death of a young girl brought the attention of our country to the importance of vigilance regarding food allergies.

Today we learned that children’s food allergies are costing the United States about $25 Billion every year in medical fees, lost work productivity and other family expenses. Childhood food allergies cost the United States about $25 billion a year in medical fees, lost work productivity and family expenses, according to a new study. The study comes from Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago and the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

Food allergies affect about 8 percent of children in the United States. Researchers noted that in addition to the significant costs related to our health-care system, food allergies create financial burden for families due to required expenses associated with special diets and the purchase of allergen-free foods.

The researchers surveyed more than 1,600 caregivers of a child with a food allergy. The most common allergies were peanut (about 29 percent), milk (22 percent) and shellfish (19 percent).

Annual food-allergy-related costs were nearly $4,200 per child, which works out to $24.8 billion a year nationwide. The national total includes $4.3 billion in direct medical costs and $20.5 billion in costs to families.

Hospitalizations accounted for the largest amount of direct medical costs, at $1.9 billion. Costs for outpatient visits to allergists reached $819 million, emergency-room visits were $764 million and pediatrician visits were $543 million.

Special diets and allergen-free foods cost families $1.7 billion a year, the study estimated. The cost of lost work productivity that occurs when caregivers take their children to medical visits is $773 million a year.

Researchers concluded that childhood food allergies in the U.S. place considerable economic burden on both families and the society as a whole. They emphasized that research to develop effective food allergy treatment and a cure is critical.

FoodFacts.com strongly feels that food allergy awareness is critical to our nutritional awareness. This new research adds a new dimension to that statement. Everyone involved in the lives of children has a responsibility to be sensitive to the needs of food-allergic kids. We all need to understand the devastating effects food allergies can have on the lives of children and their families and go out of our way to accommodate those needs. We hope that based on research like this, both the scientific and medical communities go to work on tackling this tremendous problem, which is obviously not just causing physical and emotional stress, but financial stress as well.

http://healthyliving.msn.com/diseases/allergies/costs-for-kids-food-allergies-estimated-at-nearly-dollar25-billion-1

One in Twelve U.S. Children May suffer from Food Allergies

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Foodfacts.com realizes that more and more children are now suffering from food allergies. Nearly 6 million U.S. children or about one in 12 kids are allergic to at least one food, with peanuts, milk and shellfish topping the list of the most common allergens, a new study finds.

Researchers conducted a nationally representative survey of the parents of more than 40,000 children. About 8 percent reported having a child who had a food allergy. Of those, about 30 percent said their child was allergic to multiple foods.

Among kids with food allergies, 25 percent were allergic to peanuts, 21 percent were allergic to milk and 17 percent had an allergy to shellfish. Those were followed by tree nuts (13 percent), eggs (nearly 10 percent), finned fish (6 percent), strawberries (5 percent), wheat (5 percent), and soy (just under 5 percent).

While the study was a snapshot of the prevalence of food allergies in America and did not track change over time, researchers said anecdotal evidence — including reports from schools and the numbers of patients coming in to allergists’ offices — suggests that the rate is rising.

“Eight percent is a pretty significant amount of kids,” said lead study author Dr. Ruchi Gupta, an assistant professor of pediatrics at Northwestern University and a pediatrician at Children’s Memorial Hospital, both in Chicago. “We are seeing a lot more cases. We are seeing a lot more in schools than we used to see. It does seem that food allergy is on the rise.”

The study is published in the July issue of Pediatrics.

Allergic reactions to foods can range from mild to severe. In the survey, about 61 percent of food allergic children had a mild to moderate reaction, including swelling of the lips and face, hives, itching, flushing or an eczema flare.

The remaining 39 percent had a severe or even potentially life-threatening reaction known as anaphylaxis — wheezing and trouble breathing, vomiting, swelling, persistent coughing that indicates airway swelling and a dangerous drop in blood pressure.

The foods most commonly associated with a severe reaction included tree nuts and peanuts, shellfish, soy and finned fish.eatingpeanutsduringpregnancymayincreasechildrensriskoffoodallergies_2248_800211243_0_0_7052658_300

“Especially for kids with multiple food allergies, it complicates their lives and makes it really tough on these kids to avoid multiple foods to stay healthy and stay alive,” Gupta said.

Parents of children with food allergies should always carry antihistamine and an epinephrine shot (i.e., an EpiPen) with them, Gupta said. Even with those close at hand, witnessing a child having a serious food reaction can be terrifying for parents, who don’t know how bad it’s going to get and need to decide within moments whether to administer the shot and call 911.

Often, reactions happen when parents least expect them — while they’re at a family gathering or some other social event, and the child accidentally ingests something.

Dr. Susan Schuval, a pediatric allergist at Cohen Children’s Medical Center in New Hyde Park, N.Y., agreed that food allergies seem to be getting more common.

“We are seeing tons and tons of food allergies. There also seems to be an increase from what we’ve seen in the past,” Schuval said.

Right now, the only treatment available to most food allergic kids is avoidance. For parents and children, that means paying close attention to labels, taking precautions when eating out, bringing along their own food when they travel or go to social events such as birthday parties. It also means educating teachers, caregivers and other parents who may have their kids over to play about using an epinephrine shot and the seriousness of the allergy.

“They need to maintain their full alertness out of the home, in the schools and in restaurants,” Schuval said.

For some children, food allergies get better over time. Previous research has found many kids outgrow allergies to milk, egg, soy and wheat. Fewer outgrow peanut, tree nut, fish and shellfish allergies.

A wheat allergy is different from celiac disease, in which wheat cannot be digested properly and, over time, damages the lining of the intestines.

For more information on food allergies and how to avoid them check out blog.foodfacts.com.

Information provided by: MSN News