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Life in Brief — Week of Sept. 22

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Survey adds up costs

of children’s allergies

Children’s allergies to peanuts, dairy and other foods cost the U.S. nearly $25 billion a year, according to the first survey to come up with a price tag for a condition that affects 8 percent of American kids.

Researchers led by Dr. Ruchi Gupta, a pediatrician at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago and a professor at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, surveyed 1,643 parents around the country who have at least one child with a food allergy.

Here’s what they found:

Doctor’s appointments, hospital stays, trips to the emergency room and other direct medical expenses accounted for $4.3 billion of the tab, researchers reported. The lost productivity of parents who had to take their children to these appointments added $773 million.

Expenses associated with buying allergen-free foods, and placing children in allergy-sensitive schools or child care totaled $5.5 billion.

The biggest cost by far, $14 billion a year, was the money parents gave up by staying out of the workforce, taking lesser jobs or otherwise restricting their careers to accommodate their children’s condition.

The grand total for these expenses came to $24.8 billion a year, or $4,184 per child, the researchers found. After excluding expenses covered by health insurance, the costs borne by families was $20.5 billion.

— Karen Kaplan

Los Angeles Times

Hints from Heloise:

Cotton bike shorts offer support under dresses

Joyce in Illinois writes: Sometimes when I am wearing dresses, I feel like I need a little extra support or coverage underneath. I bought a couple of cotton bike shorts in different colors. I can easily slip them on underneath a dress. It gives me support while still allowing me to breathe.

— King Features

These 10 tips will make moving day a lot easier

De-stress your move with these tips from Susan Fleischman, a professional organizer and home stager who blogs for YouCopia.com:

1. Purge before you move. Movers charge by the hour, so taking along stuff that you ultimately won’t use again is a waste of money and time.

2. Use small boxes. You’ll end up with more boxes, but they’ll be easier to handle. Fleischman recommends corrugated bankers boxes for their handles, strength and value.

3. Pack LIT (like items together) for easier and faster unpacking and organizing at your new home.

4. If professional movers pack for you, be sure to supervise them to ensure LIT.

5. Before you pack, take photos of all key areas, closets and cabinets so that you can replicate them in your new home.

6. Ink from newspaper can leave a dirty film on glassware and other fragile items, so it’s well worth a few extra dollars to use professional packing paper.

7. Use stretch wrap for bundling dishes, containing stuff in drawer-ready organizers, and corralling large items like lawn chairs.

8. Insist that movers wrap furniture and appliances in moving blankets, and stretch wrap upholstery.

9. Label the sides of moving boxes, not just tops. If boxes are stacked up, you’ll know what’s where.

10. Whether using professional movers or friends and family volunteers, have coolers of water, sandwiches and snacks on moving day.

— McClatchy Tribune News Service


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