Food allergies take a toll on family finances
September 18th, 2013
11:15 AM ET
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Two of Emily Cunningham's three children have food allergies. And protecting her kids is taking toll on the family budget.

When she was nine months old, Cunningham's four-year-old daughter Elena ate a spoonful of yogurt and broke out in hives. Elena is allergic to eggs, tree nuts, dairy and peanuts, and even brief contact with one of the these hard-to-avoid items is all it takes to set off a potentially life-threatening immune reaction.

Cunningham's eight-month-old son Wyatt has a bad dairy allergy too.

In order to keep their kids safe and healthy, Emily Cunningham, a stay-at-home mother from Charlotte, North Carolina who writes the AllergenMenuMom blog, and her husband keep a completely allergy-free home, buying only food products that are free of any trace of their children's triggers.

But that protection comes at a high price. Between breathing medications and epipens of epinephrine, a drug used to treat anaphylactic shock, the Cunninghams spend about $1,000 a month to safeguard their children from their allergies, and that's before the grocery bill. Emily estimates her family spends $80 a month just on rice milk.

Read - What food allergies are costing families - and the economy

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Filed under: Allergies • Health News

soundoff (6 Responses)
  1. jj

    My food allergies are life-threatening (anaphylactic shock), got worse as I grew older, and I am not going to grow out of them. Please take them seriously in your children.

    October 2, 2013 at 2:44 pm |
  2. Granny Smith

    I think our food supply is being "contaminated" in a way. I can eat the apples grown in my Aunt's back yard (only sprayed with water), but not apples from a store that have been sprayed with who-knows-what to preserve them and keep them shiny. In fact, I can eat fewer and fewer fruits nowadays than I used to unless I peel and rinse them.

    September 20, 2013 at 11:59 pm |
  3. Polish Woman

    I would think it's mostly GMOs, chemicals, etc. Things simply were not affected with all these outside influences years ago. More and more we consume 'food like' foods instead of the real thing. Those that can adapt will live and those that can't will have more and more issues with survival/health. We could potentially be wiping out our species.

    September 18, 2013 at 5:20 pm |
    • RC

      Agreed. I think we're slowly poisoning our food supply.

      September 19, 2013 at 11:41 am |
  4. Pacific Merchants

    That's gotta be hard. I hope that the children grow out of their allergies, as often happens. Still, (as someone with food allergies) allergies are a way of forcing you to cook outside of your comfort zone, especially if you're trying to do so on a budget.

    September 18, 2013 at 1:18 pm |
  5. Truthâ„¢

    This is rough, especially given the times we live in.

    One question: It seems like severe food allergies are a fairly recent phenomenon. Are there any theories as to the causes of them?

    September 18, 2013 at 11:39 am |
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