Food Allergies Cost $500 Million Per Year

A new study published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology calculates that doctor visits, hospital care and lost work days due to food allergies costs $500 million per year.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention claims that food allergies among children have climbed 18 percent from 1997 to 2007 and about four of every 100 Americans suffer from a food allergy. With this rise comes increased medical cost.

Reuters reports that doctor visits cost $118 million annually while visits to the emergency room ring up at $45 million. Indirect costs of food allergies, such as missing work to take a sick child to the doctor, cost $115 million to $203 million.

The study also found that emergency room costs for food allergies were higher than for other medical reasons. For example, the average visit for a food allergy costs about $553 where a visit for asthma issues is about $345. For families with food allergy sufferers, costs can be an additional $400 per month for co-payments and other medical needs.

Although 30% of the population claim to have a food allergy, only about eight percent of children and less than five percent of adults actually have one, says the New York Times. Perhaps some can be attributed to hypochondria, but for those fakers out there, make sure to not eat at any of David Chang's restaurants.

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