Soaring child allergies cost U.S. $25 bil. annually

SoaringChildAllergiesAbout six to ten percent of American young people under age 18 suffer from allergies, and the latest statistics indicate that this number is steadily rising. The economic cost to families is an estimated $25 billion a year, or $4, 184 per child.

Nearly $5 billion of those costs involves direct medical fees such as medications and emergency treatments for allergic reactions, with $20.5 billion going to additional yearly costs for families, according to a new study in the journal JAMA Pediatrics.

The researchers arrived at their conclusion by looking at both direct medical costs like hospital visits, co-payments and medication purchases, as well as other expenses that are unique to families of children with food allergies, including special child-care arrangements, allergy-friendly summer camps and even switching schools.

The study authors also accounted for less direct costs, like lost career opportunities for parents. Caring for a child with major food allergies can harm caregivers’ careers, because many choose to be with their children more frequently to guard them against exposure and imminent emergencies.

Why so many kids are increasingly suffering from allergies is much debated and not attributed to a single cause. But the reasons are probably many faceted in modern society, ranging from drastically increased pollution in the air, ground and water,  climate changes, oversanitation, indoor living and lack of physical exercise that prevents children from building strong immunity, and the unnatural combination of ingredients consumed in the Standard American Diet.

And the problem is not limited to the U.S. In 2010 and 2011, there were a flurry of articles in the British press blaming junk and fast foods for the rising obesity, asthma and allergies in British children. Natural health physicians and advocates in the U.S. have warned against America’s love affair with calorie-laden, nutrient-deficient processed and fast food for many years.

We can’t do much about the environmental pollutants, but we can make an effort to improve our children’s diet and activity habits.

We, ourselves.

Unlike the suggestion of the study authors that the government “ensure” safe environments for kids (like they’ve done so wonderful so far). “For instance, the Senate is considering a bill that would make epinephrine injectors like the EpiPen more widely available in schools.”

Whoopee! Problem solved.

 

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