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Food allergies prove to be concern for parents

Category: Allergy Testing

Across the country, parents are struggling to find ways to deal with their children's food allergies. In settings like school, it can be very hard to track children's eating habits and what they may be exposed to, so many parents are lobbying their local governments and the national government for assistance with this issue.

Growing allergy rates
Between 1997 and 2007, children's food allergy rates have climbed by nearly 20 percent, according to lab tests. This includes severe allergies to peanuts and tree nuts, as well as allergies to gluten and other substances. Many parents are petitioning their kids' schools to not allow certain foods that cause severe and potentially deadly allergic reactions at all, noted Press Democrat.

With the number of foods that kids can be allergic to, most notably peanuts and gluten as well as shellfish and dairy, it can be hard for schools to keep track of which kids are not allowed to be exposed to which foods. Schools across the country are trying to make their staff aware of the allergies that many of the children have, yet it can still be difficult to make sure exposure does not happen.

Some schools try to temper their restrictions on a case-by-case basis, like one school in Santa Rosa, Calif. that declares a classroom to be "nut free" if a student enrolls who is allergic. The same school offers nut-free tables in the cafeteria, but some parents still say this is not enough, citing the fact that some food allergies are so severe that even airborne exposure could be harmful or fatal, according to the Press Democrat.

Costly measures for safety
A new study from the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago has shown that the amount of special training and medical expenses, including blood tests, for allergies cost approximately $25 billion per year. That equals roughly $4,000 per child, since many kids need to have multiple EpiPens as well as other specialized equipment at all times. Trips to the emergency room and other expenses also cost significant amounts. About 8 percent of children have a food allergy, according to the Los Angeles Times.

A lab test online can help to reduce the chances of exposure to many allergens. These tests can diagnose allergies in children and adults, which can potentially be life-saving.

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