Allergies affect millions each year. Learn more about how prevalent they are, who is impacted, and how much is spent each year on care for allergy patients.
- In the 12 months preceding the 2010 U.S.
National Health Interview, there were 17.9 million adults diagnosed with hay
fever (allergic rhinitis), which is equal to approximately 7.8 percent of the
population of the country.
- Children are diagnosed almost as frequently in a
one-year period as adults, with approximately 7.1 million diagnosed, or 9.5
percent of the children in the population.
- There were 8.6 million children, or 11.5 percent
of the children in the population, reported to have had respiratory allergies
in a 12-month period in 2010.
- Children also experience a rate of reported food
allergies of approximately 3.4 million, or 4.6 percent of the children in the
population, in a 12-month period in 2010.
- Skin allergies in children were reported in 9.4
million cases, or a total of 12.6 percent of the children in the population, in
- More than half (54.6 percent) of the people
reporting a survey completed in the U.S. indicated that they had positive
reactions to one or more allergens. Allergic rhinitis (hay fever) affects
between 10 and 30 percent of all adults in the U.S. and as many as 40 percent
- There are estimates that over 60 million people
in the U.S. that have symptoms of allergic rhinitis and this number is
- Approximately 40 people per year die in the U.S.
because of allergic reactions to bee stings. ?
Age, Gender and Other Factors
- Eight specific types of foods are responsible
for over 90 percent of all reported food allergies. These include eggs, milk,
peanuts, tree nuts, shellfish, soy, wheat, and fish.
- Food allergies are more prominent in children
than adults with a total of 4.7 percent of children under the age of 5 having a
reported food allergies, and 3.7 percent of children between the ages of 5 to 17
reporting allergies. Often food allergies can decrease as the child ages.
- Females are slightly more likely to have food
allergies than males with percentages of reported reactions at 4.1 and 3.8 respectively.
- Non-Hispanic white children have the highest
percentage of reported food allergies at 4.1, non-Hispanic blacks at 4.0, and
Hispanic children at 3.1.
- In about 50 percent of all homes in the U.S.,
there are at least 6 detectable allergens present in the environment.
- Adults are more likely to have life-threatening
reactions to insect stings than children with 3 percent of adults and only 0.4
to 0.8 percent of children. Healthcare workers are at higher risk for
developing a latex allergy than the general population. In the general
population, there is less than a 1 percent incidence, while in the healthcare
industry, the rate is 5 to 15 percent.
- Milk allergies are most common in children with
2.5 percent of children under the age of 3 having an allergic reaction to milk.
- Peanut allergies doubled in numbers diagnosed
between the years 1997 to 2003.
Medical Issues and Care Costs
2007, there were 13.4 million visits to doctor offices, hospital
outpatient departments, clinics, and emergency departments that had a
primary diagnosis of allergic rhinitis (hay fever).
under the age of 18 accounted for approximately 9,500 hospital discharges
during the years 2004 to 2006 in the U.S.
rate of reported food allergies in children rose 18 percent between the
years 1997 and 2007.
2007, children with reported food allergies had a higher rate of other
allergies and respiratory conditions than children without food allergies. Children with food allergies had higher rates of asthma 29.4 compared to 12.4, higher rates of eczema 27.2 compared to 8.1, and respiratory allergies of 31.5 compared to 8.7 percent for children with no reported food allergies.
the years of 2000 and 2005, the cost for treatments for allergic rhinitis
increased from $6.1 billion to $11.2 billion with more than half of the
total amount spent on prescription medications.
reactions to penicillin cause about 400 deaths per year. Also, between six
to 10 percent of all adverse drug reactions are caused by allergies or
with HIV/AIDS are more likely to be allergic to drugs, specifically
sulfonamide drugs, at a rate of 29 to 65 percent of the HIV/AIDS population
compared to two to four percent of other individuals.
are approximately 5.7 million doctor visits each year due to contact
- The number of visits to medical care facilities for
food allergies, including emergency rooms and doctors’ offices, was
317,000 for the years 2003 to 2006 in the U.S. alone.
rhinitis is more common in Europe and Australasia. In a recent European
Community Respiratory Health Survey, 35 percent of participants reported
having the health condition or symptoms.
to the World Health Organization, the estimated number of people worldwide
with asthma, which is linked to allergies, is approximately 235 million.
- The World Health Organization lists allergic rhinitis
and sinusitis as one of the major chronic respiratory diseases worldwide.