Two studies presented yesterday at the annual conference of the American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI) show that poverty is associated with poorer outcomes for families coping with food allergy and asthma.
Dr Ruchi Gupta, MD, MPH of Northwestern Medicine and Lurie Children’s Hospital presented the findings of a study of socioeconomic disparities for families with food allergies.
The study found that families in the lowest income stratum spend less money on specialists and out-of-pocket medication costs, while spending two and a half times more on emergency department and hospitalization costs. “The first line of treatment for anaphylaxis is epinephrine, but, costs can be a barrier for many families. Some patients may keep expired auto-injectors or cannot afford to fill their prescription in the first place,” Gupta said.
“FARE funded the food allergy study to understand the disparities in the economic burden of childhood food allergy. This data shows the remarkable direct and out-of-pocket costs related to food allergies, which families have to bear,” said James R. Baker, Jr., MD, FAAAAI, CEO and chief medical officer of Food Allergy Research & Education. “This reinforces that food allergies are an important economic issue as well as a medical problem.”
The other study, presented by Juan Carlos Cardet, MD of Brigham and Women’s Hospital, surveyed 381 participants from a trial examining the role of vitamin D treatment and asthma outcomes and found that lower income is strongly associated with adverse asthma outcomes regardless of race, education and stress.
“We found that patients who have asthma and come from lower income households – making less than $50,000 every year – are one and a half times more likely to see treatment fail. They are also almost twice as likely to have an asthma exacerbation,” Cardet said.
We at SnackSafely.com firmly believe that access to life-saving medications and quality medical care must be available to all families regardless of socioeconomic status, especially for those coping with life-threatening chronic conditions. We urge you to make your wishes known to the candidates running to represent you in this year’s election.