Allergies are becoming more common than ever before. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA), allergies are now the sixth leading cause of chronic illness in the United States. If your allergies are interfering with your daily activities, you may be wondering how to get rid of or better manage them.
- The cost of nasal allergies is between $3 billion and $4 billion each year.5
- Food allergies cost about $25 billion each year.6
What Are Indoor and Outdoor Allergies?
- Indoor and outdoor allergies can lead to sinus swelling/pain, itchy/watery eyes, nasal congestion, and sneezing. Airborne allergens can cause seasonal (sometimes called “hay fever” or “rose fever”) or constant (called “persistent”) allergies.
- Many people with allergies often have more than one type of allergy. The most common indoor/outdoor allergy triggers are tree pollen, grass pollen & weed pollen, mold spores, dust mites, cockroaches, cat and dog dander and rodent urine.
How Common Are Seasonal Allergies?
- In 2018, approximately 24 million people in the U.S. were diagnosed with seasonal allergic rhinitis/hayfever. This equals around 8% (19.2 million) of adults and 7% (5.2 million) of children.1,7
- Seasonal allergic rhinitis is an allergic reaction to pollen from trees, grasses, and weeds. This type of rhinitis occurs mainly in the spring & fall when pollen from trees, grasses & weeds are in the air.
- In 2018, white children were more likely to have hay fever than Black children.7
- The same triggers for indoor/outdoor allergies also often cause eye allergies.
How Common Are Skin Allergies?
Skin allergies include skin inflammation, eczema, hives, chronic hives, and contact allergies. Plants like poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac are the most common skin contact allergy triggers and cause symptoms days after the exposure. But skin contact with cockroaches and dust mites, certain foods, or latex may also cause skin allergy symptoms.
- In 2018, 9.2 million children had skin allergies.7
- Children birth to age 4 are most likely to have skin allergies.7
- In 2018, Black children in the U.S. were more likely to have skin allergies than white children.7
How Common Are Food Allergies?
Nine foods cause most food allergy reactions. They are milk, soy, eggs, wheat, peanuts, tree nuts, sesame, fish, and shellfish.
- About 32 million people have food allergies in the U.S.8,9
- About 26 million (10.8%) U.S. adults have food allergies.8
- About 5.6 million (7.6%) U.S. children have food allergies.9
- In 2018, 4.8 million (6.5%) children under 18 years of age had food allergies over the previous 12 months.7
- In 2018, 6% of Black and Hispanic children had food allergies over the previous 12 months, compared to 6.6% of white children.7
- Food allergy has increased among U.S. children over the past 20 years, with the greatest increase in Black children.9
- Milk is the most common allergen for children, followed by egg and peanut.10
- Shellfish is the most common allergen for adults, followed by peanut and tree nut.10
- Sesame is a rising food allergy. It impacts an estimated 1 million people in the United States.11 It was declared a major allergen in the United States in 2021.
According to WebMD:
- Number of people in the U.S. who have either allergy or asthma symptoms: one in five
- Percentage of the U.S. population that tests positive to one or more allergens: 55%
- Rank of allergies among other leading chronic diseases in the U.S.: 5th
- One estimate of the annual cost of allergies to the health care system and businesses in the U.S.: $7.9 billion
- Number of workdays lost each year as a result of hay fever: 4 million
- Number of weeks by which the ragweed pollen season has increased in the last 10 to 15 years, likely as a result of global warming: Four
- Odds that a child with one allergic parent will develop allergies: 33%
- Odds that a child with two allergic parents will develop allergies: 70%
- Number of ER visits in the U.S. caused by food allergies each year: 30,000
- Percentage of the people in the U.S. who believe they have a food allergy: 15%
- Percentage of the people in the U.S. who actually have a food allergy: 3% to 4% *(most are food sensitivities)*
- Percentage of our lives that we spend indoors: 90%
- Degree by which levels of indoor pollution in U.S. homes exceed levels of outdoor pollution: two to 100 times, depending on factors such as whether the residents smoke
- Percentage of U.S. households with one or more dogs (2012): 36.5%
- Percentage of U.S. households with one or more cats: (2012) 30.4%
- Percentage of all U.S. households with detectable levels of dog and cat dander: 100%
- Percentage of people in the U.S. that have asthma: 8%
- From 2001 through 2009, asthma rates rose the most among black children, almost a 50% increase.
- On average, in 2008 children missed 4 days of school and adults missed 5 days of work because of asthma.
- Percentage of people hospitalized for asthma who are children: About 44%
- Number of deaths each year in the U.S. from asthma: 3,447 in 2007.
- Number of people with chronic allergy-like symptoms — runny nose, congestion and cough — but who have nonallergic rhinitis instead: one out of three.
Allergy Facts and Figures
More Americans than ever say they suffer from allergies. It is among the country’s most common, but overlooked, disease.
How Many People Do Allergies Affect?
- Researchers think nasal allergies affect about 50 million people in the United States.
- Allergies are increasing. They affect as many as 30 percent of adults and 40 percent of children.1
- Allergic disease, including asthma, is the 5th leading chronic disease in the U.S. in people of all ages. It is the 3rd most common chronic disease in children under 18 years old.1
How Many People Get Sick from Allergies?
- Allergic conditions are the most common health issues affecting children in the U.S.15
- In 2012, 11.1 million people were diagnosed with allergic rhinitis.2
- People visit the emergency room about 200,000 times each year because of food allergies. Almost 10,000 people stay in the hospital each year because of food allergies.16
How Many People Die from Allergies?
- The most common triggers for anaphylaxis, a life-threatening reaction, are medicines, food and insect stings.4 Medicines cause the most allergy related deaths.11
- African-Americans and the elderly have the most deadly reactions to medicines, food or unknown allergens.5
- Deadly reactions from venom are higher in older white men.12 Over the years, deadly drug reactions have increased a lot.12
What Are the Costs of Allergies?
- In 2010, Americans with nasal swelling spent about $17.5 billion on health costs. They have also lost more than 6 million work and school days and made 16 million visits to their doctor.6
- Food allergies cost about $25 billion each year.7
What Are Indoor and Outdoor Allergies?
Types of indoor and outdoor allergies include sinus swelling, seasonal and returning allergies, hay fever and nasal allergies. Many people with allergies often have more than one type of allergy. The most common indoor/outdoor allergy triggers are: tree, grass and weed pollen, mold spores, dust mites, cockroaches, and cat, dog and rodent dander.
- In 2012, 17.6 million adults and 6.6 million children had hay fever.8
- Worldwide, allergic rhinitis affects between 10 percent and 30 percent of the population. In 2010, allergic rhinitis was diagnosed during 11.1 million doctor visits.1
- In 2010, white children were more likely to have hay fever than African-American children.1
- The same triggers for indoor/outdoor allergies also often cause eye allergies.
How Common Are Skin Allergies ?
Skin allergies include skin inflammation, eczema, hives, chronic hives and contact allergies. Plants like poison ivy, poison oak and poison sumac are the most common skin allergy triggers. But skin contact with cockroaches and dust mites, certain foods or latex may also cause skin allergy symptoms.
- In 2012, 8.8 million children had skin allergies.2
- Children age 0-4 are most likely to have skin allergies.2
- In 2010, African-American children in the U.S. were more likely to have skin allergies than white children.1
How Common Are Food Allergies ?
Children have food allergies more often than adults. Eight foods cause most food allergy reactions. They are milk, soy, eggs, wheat, peanuts, tree nuts, fish and shellfish.
- Peanut is the most common allergen. Milk is second. Shellfish is third.9
- In 2014, 4 million children in the US have food allergies.8
- Also, 38.7 percent of food-allergic children have a history of severe reactions.1
- In children with food allergies, 30.4 percent are allergic to multiple foods.1
How Common Are Drug Allergies?
- Penicillin is the most common allergy trigger for those with drug allergies. Up to 10 percent of people report being allergic to this common antibiotic.11
- Bad drug reactions may affect 10 percent of the world’s population. These reactions affect up to 20 percent of all hospital patients.3
How Common Is Latex Allergy?
- About 1 percent of people in the U.S. have a latex allergy.12
- Health care workers are becoming more concerned about latex allergies.
- About 8-12 percent of health care workers will get a latex allergy.12
How Common Is Insect Allergy?
People who have insect allergies are often allergic to bee and wasp stings and poisonous ant bites. Cockroaches and dust mites may also cause nasal or skin allergy symptoms.
- Insect sting allergies affect 5 percent of the population.13
- At least 40 deaths occur each year in the United States due to insect sting reactions.14
-  American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology. Allergy Facts. http://acaai.org/news/facts-statistics/allergies (Retrieved April 8 2015)
-  Jackson K, Howie L, Akinbami L. CDC. Trends in Allergic Conditions Among Children: United States, 1997-2011. NCHS Data Brief. No 121. May 2013. http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db121.pdf (Retrieved April 8 2015)
-  Clark S, Espinola J, Rudders S, etc. Frequency of US emergency department visits of food-related acute allergic reactions. J Allergy ClinImmunol. March 2011. http://www.jacionline.org/article/S0091-6749(10)01655-6/pdf (Retrieved April 8 2015)
-  Wood R, Camargo C, Lieberman P, etc. Anaphylaxis in America: the prevalence and characteristics of anaphylaxis in the United States. J Allergy ClinImmunol. Feb 2014; 133(2): 461-7. Doi:10.1016/j.jaci.2013.08.016. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24144575 (Retrieved November 6 2015)
-  Einstein. Anaphylaxis Research: Comprehensive Study of Allergic Deaths in US Finds Medications are Main Culprit. Sept 2014. http://www.einstein.yu.edu/news/releases/1043/comprehensive-study-of-allergic-deaths-in-u-s–finds-medications-are-main-culprit/ (Retrieved November 6 2015)
-  Schaffer F. National Impact of Allergies. Academy of Allergy and Asthma in Primary Care. http://www.aaapc.us/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/National-Impact-of-Allergies.pdf (Retrieved April 8 2015)
-  Gupta R, Holdford D, Bilaver L, etc. The economic impact of childhood food allergy in the United States. JamaPediatr. 2013 Nov; 167(110):1026-31. Doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2013.2376. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24042236 (Retrieved November 6 2015)
-  CDC. National Center for Health Statistics.FastStats:Allergies and Hay Fever. 2012. http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/allergies.htm. Last Updated 2014. (Retrieved April 8 2015)
-  American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology. Allergy Statistics. http://www.aaaai.org/about-the-aaaai/newsroom/allergy-statistics.aspx. (Retrieved April 8 2015)
-  Gupta R, Springston E, Warrier M, etc. The Prevalence, Severity, and Distribution of Childhood Food Allergy in the United States. Pediatrics. April 2011. Doi:10.1542/peds.2011-0204. http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/128/1/e9.full.pdf (Retrieved April 8 2015)
-  American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology. Types of Allergies: Drug Allergies. http://acaai.org/allergies/types/drug-allergies. (Retrieved April 8 2015)
-  CDC. Gateway to Health Communication and Social Marketing Practice. Latex Allergy. 2011. http://www.cdc.gov/healthcommunication/toolstemplates/entertainmented/tips/latexallergy.html (Retrieved April 8 2015)
-  American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology. The Rise of Deadly Insect Sting Allergies: Is There a Cure? August 2013. http://acaai.org/news/rise-deadly-insect-sting-allergies-there-cure. (Retrieved April 8 2015)
-  American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology. Types of Allergies: Insect Stings. http://acaai.org/allergies/types/insect-sting-allergies (Retrieved April 8 2015)
-  Jackson K, Howie L, Akinbami L. CDC. Trends in Conditions Among Children: United States, 1997-2011. NCHS Data Brief. No 121. May 2013. http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db121.pdf (Retrieved April 8 2015)
-  Clark S, Espinola J, Rudders S, etc. Frequency of US emergency department visits of food-related acute allergic reactions. J Allergy ClinImmunol. March 2011. http://www.jacionline.org/article/S0091-6749(10)01655-6/pdf (Retrieved November 6 2015)
- Asthma and allergic diseases, such as allergic rhinitis (hay fever), food allergy, and atopic dermatitis (eczema), are common for all age groups in the United States. Asthma affects more than 17 million adults and more than 7 million children.1
- Allergies are the 6th leading cause of chronic illness in the U.S. with an annual cost in excess of $18 billion. More than 50 million Americans suffer from allergies each year.2
- Allergic rhinitis, often called hay fever, is a common condition that causes symptoms such as sneezing, stuffy nose, runny nose, watery eyes and itching of the nose, eyes or the roof of the mouth.
- Allergic rhinitis can be seasonal or perennial.
- Symptoms of seasonal allergic rhinitis occur in spring, summer and/or early fall. They are usually caused by allergic sensitivity to pollens from trees, grasses or weeds, or to airborne mold spores.
- People with perennial allergic rhinitis experience symptoms year-round. Perennial allergic rhinitis is generally caused by sensitivity to house dust mites, animal dander, cockroaches and/or mold spores..
- The prevalence of food and skin allergies increased in children under 18 years from 1997-2011.3
- In data published from the 2014 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), 8.4% of US children under age 18 suffered from hay fever, 10% from respiratory allergies, 5.4% from food allergies, and 11.6% from skin allergies.4
- Allergic Diseases (NIH)
- Allergies: Gateway to Health Communication (CDC)
- NCHS Data Brief, Number 121 (CDC)
- National Health Interview Survey, 2014 (CDC)
According to the American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunlogy:
- Roughly 7.8% of people 18 and over in the U.S. have hay fever.4
- In 2010, white children in the U.S. were more likely to have had hay fever (10%) than black children (7%).1
- Worldwide, allergic rhinitis affects between 10% and 30 % of the population.3
- Worldwide, sensitization (IgE antibodies) to foreign proteins in the environment is present in up to 40% of the population.3
- In 2012, 7.5% or 17.6 million adults were diagnosed with hay fever in the past 12 months.5
- In 2012, 9.0% or 6.6 million children reported hay fever in the past 12 months.6
- In 2010, 11.1 million visits to physician offices resulted with a primary diagnosis of allergic rhinitis.7
- Worldwide, adverse drug reactions may affect up to 10% of the world’s population and affect up to 20% of all hospitalized patients.3
- Worldwide, drugs may be responsible for up to 20% of fatalities due to anaphylaxis.3
- Findings from a 2009 to 2010 study of 38,480 children (infant to 18) indicated:2
8% have a food allergy
Approximately 6% aged 0-2 years have a food allergy
o About 9% aged 3-5 years have a food allergy
o Nearly 8% aged 6-10 years have a food allergy
o Approximately 8% aged 11-13 years have a food allergy
o More than 8.5% aged 14-18 years have a food allergy
- 7% of food allergic children have a history of severe reactions
- 4% of food allergic children have multiple food allergies
- Of food allergic children, peanut is the most prevalent allergen, followed by milk and then shellfish
- In 2012, 5.6% or 4.1 million children reported food allergies in the past 12 months.6
- Worldwide, the rise in prevalence of allergic diseases has continued in the industrialized world for more than 50 years.3
- Worldwide, sensitization rates to one or more common allergens among school children are currently approaching 40%-50%.3
- In 2012, 10.6% or 7.8 million children reported respiratory allergies in the past 12 months.6
- Worldwide, in up to 50% of individuals who experience a fatal reaction there is no documented history of a previous systemic reaction.3
- Roughly 13% of people 18 and over in the U.S. have sinusitis.4
- In 2010, black children in the U.S. were more likely to have had skin allergies (17%) than white (12%) or Asian (10%) children.1
- Worldwide, urticaria occurs with lifetime prevalence above 20%.3
- In 2012, 12.0% or 8.8 million children reported skin allergies in the past 12 months.6
- Bloom B, Cohen RA, Freeman G. Summary health statistics for U.S. children: National Health Interview Survey, 2010. National Center for Health Statistics. Vital Health Stat 10(250). 2011.
- Gupta, R, et al. The Prevalence, Severity and Distribution of Childhood Food Allergy in the United States. Pediatrics 2011; 10.1542/ped.2011-0204.
- World Health Organization. White Book on Allergy 2011-2012 Executive Summary. By Prof. Ruby Pawankar, MD, PhD, Prof. Giorgio WalkterCanonica, MD, Prof. Stephen T. Holgate, BSc, MD, DSc, FMedSci and Prof. Richard F. Lockey, MD.
- Summary Health Statistics for U.S. Adults: National Health Interview Survey, 2010. By Jeannine S. Schiller, M.P.H., Jacqueline W. Lucas, M.P.H., Brian W. Ward, PhD and Jennifer A. Peregory, M.P.H., Division of Health Interview Statistics.
- Summary Health Statistics for U.S. Adults: National Health Interview Survey, 2012, table 3, 4.
- Summary Health Statistics for U.S. Children: National Health Interview Survey, 2012, table 2.
- National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey: 2010 Summary Tables, table 13.