From Medicineworld.org: Allergy statistics
By Kottapurath Kunjumoideen MD
More than 50 million Americans suffer from allergic diseases.
Allergies are the 6th leading cause of chronic disease in the United States,
costing the health care system $18 billion annually.
Two estimates of prevalence of allergic rhinoconjunctivitis (hay fever) in the
United States are 9 percent  and 16 percent. The
prevalence of allergic rhinitis has increased substantially over the past 15
In 2002, approximately 14 million office visits to health care providers were
attributed to allergic rhinitis. 
Estimates of the prevalence of allergy to latex allergens in the general
population vary widely, from less than 1 percent to 6 percent. [6,7]
Certain individuals, including health care workers who wear latex gloves and
children with spina bifida who have had multiple surgical procedures, are at
particularly high risk for allergic reactions to latex. Atopic individuals
(those with allergies) are at an increased risk of developing latex allergy. 
Atopic dermatitis is one of the most common skin diseases, particularly in
infants and children. The estimated prevalence in the United States varies from
9 to 30 percent. [9,10] The prevalence of atopic
dermatitis appears to be increasing. [11,12]
Health care provider visits for contact dermatitis and other eczemas, which
include atopic dermatitis, are 7 million per year. 
Chronic sinusitis is the most commonly reported chronic disease, affecting 16.3
percent of people (nearly 32 million) in the United States in 1997. 
In 1996, estimated U.S. health care expenditures attributable to sinusitis were
approximately $5.8 billion. 
Experts estimate food allergy occurs in 6 to 8 percent of children 4 years of
age or under, and in 4 percent of adults. [15, 20] Approximately
150 Americans, usually adolescents and young adults, die annually from
food-induced anaphylaxis. 
Peanut or tree nut allergies affect approximately 0.6 percent and 0.4 percent of
Americans, respectively, and cause the most severe food-induced allergic
Allergic drug reactions account for 5 to 10 percent of all adverse drug
reactions, with skin reaction being the most common form. 
Penicillin is a common cause of drug allergy. Approximately 7 percent of normal
volunteers react to penicillin allergy skin tests (IgE antibodies) . 
While the true number of deaths from drug reactions is unknown, anaphylactic
reactions to penicillin occur in 32 of every 100,000 exposed patients. [8
Acute urticaria (hives) is common, affecting 10 to 20 percent of the population
at some time in their lives. Half of those affected continue to have symptoms
for more than 6 months. 
Allergy to venom of stinging insects (honeybees, wasps, hornets, yellow jackets,
and fire ants) is relatively common, with prevalence of systemic reactions in 3
percent of American and 1 percent of children.  Between 40
and 100 Americans have been reported to die annually from anaphylaxis to
insects, although this number may be markedly underestimated. 
American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI). The Allergy Report:
Science Based Findings on the Diagnosis & Treatment of Allergic Disorders
CDC. Fast Stats A-Z, Vital and Health Statistics, Series 10, no. 205 ,
May 2002. Web: http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/series/sr_10/sr10_205.pdf.
The International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood (ISAAC) Steering
Committee. "Worldwide variation in prevalence of symptoms of asthma, allergic
rhinoconjunctivitis, and atopic eczema: ISAAC." Lancet 351:1225-32.
Linneberg A et al . "The prevalence of skin-test-positive allergic
rhinitis in Danish adults: two cross-sectional surveys 8 years apart. The
Copenhagen Allergy Study." Allergy 55:767-772. 2000.
CDC. Fast Stats A-Z, Advanced Data from Vital and Health Statistics, no. 346,
Table 13 . August 26, 2004. Web:
Poley GE and Slater JE. "Latex allergy." Journal of Allergy and Clinical
Immunology 105 (6):1054-62. 2000.
Neugut AL, Ghatak AT and Miller RL. "Anaphylaxis in the United States: An
investigation into its epidemiology." Archives of Internal Medicine 161
The International Collaborative Study of Severe Anaphylaxis. "Risk of
anaphylaxis in a hospital population in relation to the use of various drugs:
an international study." Pharmacoepidemiol Drug Safety 12(3):195-202.
Rudikoff D and Lebwohl M. "Atopic dermatitis." Lancet 351(9117):
Larsen F and Hanikin J. "Epidemiology of Atopic Dermatitis." Immunology and
Allergy Clinics of North America . 22:1-25. 2002.
Matsumoto I et al. "Change in prevealence of allergic diseases in
primary school children in Fukuoka City for the last fifteen years." Arerugi
Schafer T. et al. "The excess of atopic eczema in East Germany is
related to the intrinsic type." British Journal of Dermatology 143:992-998.
CDC. National Center for Health Statistics. Vital and Health Statistics Series,
1996: Vol. 13, no. 134.
Ray NF et al. "Healthcare expenditures for sinusitis in 1996:
contributions of asthma, rhinitis, and other airway disorders." Journal of
Allergy and Clinical Immunology 103 (3 pt. 1):408-414. 1999.
Sampson HA. "Peanut Allergy." New England Journal of Medicine346:1294-1299.
Bock SA, Munoz-Furlong A, and Sampson, HA. "Fatalities Due to Anaphylactic
Reaction to Foods." Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology 107:
Sicherer SH, Munoz-Furlong A, and Sampson HA. "Prevalence of peanut and tree
nut allergy in the United States determined by means of a random digit dial
telephone survey: A 5-year follow-up study." Journal of Allergy and Clinical
Immunology 112(6):1203-1207. 2003.
Nugent JS et al. "Determination of the incidence of sensitization
after penicillin skin testing." Annals of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology
90 (4):398-403. 2003.
David BK and Golden MD. "Stinging Insect Allergy." American Family Physician 67:2541-2546.
Sicherer SH, Munoz-Furlong A, and Sampson HA. "Prevalence of seafood allergy in the
United States determined by a random telephone survey." Journal of Allergy and Clinical
Immunology 114:159-165. 2004.
Did you know?
Allergy is a very common disorder and more than 50 million Americans suffer from allergic diseases. Allergies are the 6th leading cause of chronic disease in the United States, costing the health care system $18 billion annually.
Medicineworld.org: Allergy Statistics
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