The study was led by Ruchi Gupta from the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, who along with her colleagues surveyed more than 1,643 caregivers of a child with a food allergy, which affects around 8 percent of children in the country. Peanut allergy was the most common, affecting around 28 percent of those involved, followed by milk allergy which affect 22 percent and shellfish allergy which affected around 18 percent.
After calculating the medical, out-of-pocket, lost work productivity and other expenses, the researchers found that the overall cost of food allergy was $24.8 billion annually with direct medical costs amounting to $4.3 billion and $20.5 billion in annual costs to families.
"In summary, childhood food allergy in the United States places a considerable economic burden on families and society. ... Given these findings, research to develop an effective food allergy treatment and cure is critically needed", the researchers wrote in their report.