Allergies have an economic impact
The Australasian Society for Clinical Immunology and Allergy (ASCIA) produces and commissions reports relevant to allergy and immunolgy.
In 2007, ASCIA commissioned Access Economics to determine the financial cost of allergies and impact on productivity and health system expenditure.
The report The Economic Impact of Allergic Disease: Not to be Sneezed At outlines how the financial cost of allergies was $7.8 billion, with lost productivity and health system expenditure the major contributing factors.
It was also highlighted that most Australians face a wait of many months to see an allergy and immunology specialist, if they can access care at all.
The total estimated cost to Australians who suffer from allergy, the "burden of disease", is estimated at $21.5 billion. This is approximately double the estimated figures for arthritis ($11.7 billion) and hearing loss ($11.7 billion).
Not only does Australia have one of the highest prevalences of allergic disorders in the developed world, but recent studies have demonstrated a doubling in some conditions such as allergic rhinitis (hay fever), eczema but more recently, potentially dangerous anaphylaxis (mainly due to food) as well. Asthma, hay fever, chronic sinusitis and "other allergy" comprise 4 of the top 10 most common long-term self-reported illnesses in youth aged 12-24 years in Australia.
Allergic disorders mostly affect children and young adults and have a negative impact on quality of life. In children these disorders affect sleep, impair learning, memory and behaviour. Children with food allergies are also at significant risk, and the condition means extra stress for their families over issues such as care at school, risk of death and the need for emergency medication in the form of injectable adrenaline.
In adults, allergic disorders lead to impaired quality of life, increased absenteeism from work, reduced productivity when they are at work (presenteeism) and are a significant financial burden.
For further information go to the Economic Impact of Allergic Disease Report on the ASCIA website: