Parents can expect to shell out $4,200 a year for a child with food allergies, according to the first study to add up the myriad costs. Only part of that total is in straight-up medical bills, reports the Los Angeles Times. The study in JAMA Pediatrics also factored in the costs of buying special food, placing the child in schools or camps willing to accommodate their needs, and even sacrificing or at least compromising careers for the sake of the child. Parents “often need to be at school, social events, or camp to educate and affirm the seriousness of their child’s condition,” the researchers explain.
It all adds up: "Kids with food allergies don't tend to have long hospital stays, but your expenses come in other ways," says the lead author from Northwestern, reports USA Today. The study estimated that food allergies, which affect about 8% of US kids, cost nearly $25 billion a year overall. Families pay some $20.5 billion of that after accounting for health insurance.