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Allergy fast facts

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  • More than 50 million Americans suffer from allergies or an allergy-related disease, like asthma.
  • Allergies are the 6th leading cause of chronic disease in the United States, costing the health care system $18 billion annually.
  • An estimated 14 million office visits to health care providers were due to allergic rhinitis in 2002.
  • Immunotherapy ultimately works in up to 90% of people with seasonal allergic rhinitis, and it 70 - 80% of those with perennial allergic rhinitis.
  • About 1 - 6% of the general population is allergic to latex.
  • True food allergies are fairly uncommon -- less than 4 percent of adults have them, and experts estimate food allergy occurs in 6 - 8% of children age 4 and younger.
  • Peanut or tree nut allergies affect 1 - 2 % of Americans, but cause the most severe food-induced allergic reactions.
  • It is estimated that more than 150 people die a year from a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) to food. At least 40 deaths occur annually in the U.S. from reactions to insect stings. A severe allergic reaction occurs in .5 - 5% of the U.S. population a a result of insect stings.
  • Venom immunotherapy can prevent systemic reactions to stings in people with insect senitivites 97% of the time.
  • People who get allergic symptoms during the winter may be allergic to mold spores. Molds remain outside much longer than pollen, and may be indoors year-round.
  • More than 35 million Americans have chronic sinusitis, making it one of the most common chronic health conditions in the U.S.
  • Allergic drug reactions account for 5 - 10% of all adverse drug reactions, with skin reactions being the most common form.
  • Penicillin is a common cause of drug allergy. Anaphylactic reactions to penicillin cause 400 deaths a year.
  • Itchy rash (allergic dermatitis) is the most common skin condition in children younger than age 11. The percentage of children diagnosed with allergic dermatitis has increased from 3% in the 1960s to 10% in the 1990s.
  • Hives (acute urticaria) is common, affecting 10 - 20% of the population at some time in their lives. Half of those affected continue to have symptoms for more than 6 months.

References

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Allergy Statistics. Bethesda, MD: Office of Communications and Public Liaison. 2004 Dec.

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Allergy and Asthma Information Resources: Allergy and Asthma Statistics. Bethesda, MD: Office of Communications and Public Liaison. 2007 Feb.

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