Allergy Statistics in the US

 

The following allergy statistics are for the U.S. population. 

Definition of Allergy

An allergy is defined as an abnormal response from the immune system to an exposure to an allergen.  There are several conditions that fall under the umbrella of allergies, including anaphylaxis, allergic rhinitis (commonly known as “hay fever”), food allergies, skin allergies and allergic asthma. 1

Allergies Overall

It is estimated that 50+ million people in the United States have allergies, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Allergies in Children

Food Allergies 

  • 6.5% of in the previous 12 months 2
  • Similar prevalence between boys (6.4%) and girls (6.5%) 2
  • Most common in children of two or more races (12.7%) 2
  • The most common food allergies are peanut (2.2%), milk (1.9%), shellfish (1.3%), tree nut (1.2%), eggs (0.9%) and fish (0.6%) 5
  • Of children with food allergies, 39.9% are allergic to multiple foods 5
  • 42.3% of children with food allergies have experienced a severe reaction 5
  • One of the top three sources of anaphylaxis worldwide 12
  • Children who have food allergies (compared to those without) are two to four times more likely to have other related conditions such as asthma or other allergies 6
  • Childhood food allergies alone cost the United States $24.8 billion annually 8
    • The per child cost is $4,184 8
    • Direct medical costs are $4.3 billion 8
    • Costs that families are responsible for totaled $20.5 billion, which includes doctor and emergency department visits, hospitalizations, out-of-pocket expenses, loss of job productivity, and specialty foods 8

Hay Fever 

  • 5.2 million children (7.2%) in the previous 12 months 2
  • More prevalent in boys (7.9%) than girls (6.4%) 2

Respiratory Allergies 

  • 9.6% in the previous 12 months 2
  • More prevalent in boys (11%) than girls (8.1%) 2
  • Most common in children who are black or of two or more races 2

Skin Allergies 

  • 12.6% in the previous 12 months 2
  • More prevalent in girls (12.9%) than boys (12.2%) 2
  • Most common in children who are black (18.2%) or two or more races (17.2%) 2

Allergies in Adults

Food Allergies

  • At least 26 million (10.8%) adults have food allergies, according to a 2019 joint study funded in part by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease  4
  • The most common food allergies are shellfish (2.9%), milk (1.9%), peanut (1.8%), tree nut (1.2%) and fish (0.9%) 4
  • 45.3% of those with food allergies are allergic to multiple foods 4
  • Among adults with food allergies 51.1% have experiences a severe reaction 4
  • One of the top three sources of anaphylaxis worldwide  12

Hay Fever 

  • 19.2 million adults (7.6%)  3
  • More prevalent in women (8.3%) than men (6.4%) 3
  • Most common in adults who are of two or more races (10.5%), specifically adults who are black or African American and white (17.2%) 3

Other Allergies

Medication (drug) Allergies

  • Medications reactions are one of the top three sources of anaphylaxis 9
  • Adverse drug reactions may affect as many as 10% of the world population on 20% of hospitalized patients 9
  • The most common medications to trigger an adverse reaction are antibiotics, aspirin, and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) 9
    • NSAIDs are the most common trigger for drug-induced anaphylaxis (48.7–57.8% of incidents)  10

Insect Allergies

  • Prevalence is 5-7% of the population globally 12
  • In the United States, estimates of severe life-threatening systemic reactions from insect stings occur in 0.4-0.8% of children and 3% of adults 13
  • One of the top three sources of anaphylaxis worldwide  11
  • Sources include bees, wasps, hornets, yellow jackets and fire ants  13

Latex Allergies

  • Prevalent in 9.7% of healthcare workers, representing the most occupationally affect group 14
    • Other occupational exposure may occur in those working in the rubber industry, research, housekeepers, gardeners, etc. 14
  • Of high-risk patients (such as those undergoing surgical procedures), prevalence is 7.2% (14)

Within the general population latex allergy prevalence is 4.3% 14

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