The immune system is designed to help fight off harmful substances that directly or indirectly find their way into your body. However, this system designed to fight off toxic substances sometimes starts to turn against itself. This is exactly what happens in the case of allergic reactions. A person’s immune system becomes hypersensitive to harmless substances, and that’s how allergic reactions occur.
Any substance capable of causing an allergic reaction is called an allergen, and there are hundreds of allergens in existence. Allergy statistics show that millions of people in the world suffer from at least one type of allergy, whose symptoms may range from mild to life-threatening.
This article will enlighten you on useful general statistics on allergies, as well as food allergy statistics, the most common symptoms, and the ways to counteract them.
Top 10 Allergy Statistics
- Allergies account for 6%–10% of all adverse drug reactions.
- Insect sting allergies affect 5% of the global population.
- About 8–12% of healthcare workers suffer from a latex allergy.
- Food allergies cost the US about $25 billion each year.
- 30.4% of food-allergic children have multiple food allergies.
- In the US, eight foods are responsible for approximately 90% of all food allergies.
- Food allergy affects between 220 and 520 million people in the world.
- Roughly 13% of people aged 18 and above in the US have sinusitis.
- More than 25 million Americans today have asthma.
- Asthma alone causes 250,000 deaths in the world each year.
General Allergy Facts and Statistics
1. Allergies cause numerous reactions.
These reactions may range from sneezing and coughing to a runny nose, hives, itchy eyes, or scratchy throat. In more severe cases, rashes, low blood pressure, asthma attacks, breathing trouble, or even death may occur.
2. There‘s no cure for allergies.
Even though there’s no permanent cure, you can manage most allergies with medications and prevention techniques. Additionally, it’s hard to find a single treatment that works for all forms of allergic reactions.
3. Food is the most common anaphylaxis trigger, according to allergy stats.
(AAAAI) (World Allergy)
Anaphylaxis is an acute, life-threatening allergic reaction that occurs due to numerous factors. Other anaphylaxis triggers include drugs, venom, and blood products.
Anaphylaxis takes little time to manifest after the exposure to allergens—it takes minutes or even seconds to occur. It‘s also important to know that anaphylaxis reaches peak severity within 5–30 minutes.
4. Any substance that causes an allergy is an allergen.
Allergens are substances that trigger allergic reactions such as rashes, asthma, etc. There are many such substances in our surroundings. They range from food and fabrics to tiny inhalable particles.
5. Allergy statistics from 2018 indicate that 85% of allergic rhinitis patients can control hay fever symptoms using immunotherapy.
(AAFA) (Cancer.org) (ACAAI)
Immunotherapy is a treatment that utilizes certain parts of a person’s immune system to combat diseases. Allergen immunotherapy (allergy shots) decreases allergy symptoms for most patients, especially those with allergic rhinitis and allergic asthma. The treatment consists of the gradual introduction of an allergen, which helps the body become less sensitive to the substance in question.
6. Penicillin is the most common allergy trigger among drugs.
Doctors often prescribe penicillin for various bacterial infections. However, some people have an abnormal reaction to it and develop rash, itching, or hives upon taking it. Interestingly, allergy stats show that up to 10% of people worldwide suffer from penicillin allergy.
7. There were a total of 1.6 million emergency room visits for asthma in 2018.
(AAFA) (WebMD) (WebMD)
Asthma causes difficulty in breathing in both mild and severe cases. An asthma attack that doesn’t get better even with a rescue inhaler can turn into a life-threatening emergency. Allergy statistics indicate that millions of people need emergency room (ER) treatment daily due to asthma attacks.
You would most likely need to visit an ER in case of asthma if:
- you had asthma attacks in the past
- develop asthma after age 40
- are a steroid user
- have other long-term health problems
8. Healthcare workers are at a higher risk of developing a latex allergy than the general population.
(Healthline) (Medscape) (Cleveland Clinic)
Allergy statistics for 2021 indicate that only 1–5% of the general US population suffer from latex allergy. Additionally, there’s an increased prevalence of this type of allergy in atopic individuals.
The number of latex allergy sufferers is much greater in people with chronic occupational exposure to latex, such as healthcare and rubber industry workers (10–15%).
Luckily, the occurrence of latex allergies has plummeted in recent years with the introduction of powder-free and latex-free gloves in hospitals.
9. Allergies account for 6–10% of all adverse drug reactions.
All drugs can cause an allergic reaction. Symptoms of allergic drug reactions predominantly manifest on the patients’ skin in the form of rash and itching.
10. Allergy statistics show that close to 5.7 million people visit a doctor due to contact dermatitis each year.
(Healthline) (Mayo Clinic)
Contact dermatitis is a condition that occurs when the skin comes in contact with an allergen or an irritant. It causes the skin to become red, inflamed, blistered, itchy, dry, and cracked.
11. Allergy statistics worldwide for 2020 show that approximately 235 million people had allergic asthma.
Allergic asthma or allergy-induced asthma is caused by allergens. The same substances that trigger various allergic reactions (dust mites, pollen, food) can also cause asthma in some patients.
12. Insect sting allergies affect 5% of the global population, according to allergy statistics.
(AAFA) (WebMD) (ACAAI)
Insect stings cause a minor reaction in most people. However, some insects can cause a severe reaction or even death in some people. About two million people suffer from bee or insect sting allergies in the US alone. Many of these people are at risk of life-threatening allergic reactions. What’s more, insect stings are responsible for about 90–100 deaths in the US every year.
13. Approximately 0.10% of the global population experience anaphylactic reactions.
Anaphylaxis is the most dangerous type of allergic reaction, and it often results in sudden ER visits.
Food Allergy Facts and Statistics
14. Food allergies are responsible for over 200,000 emergency room visits every year.
Food allergies can be deadly. However, their symptoms are often overlooked as symptoms of other similar illnesses. According to food allergy statistics, as many as 32 million Americans have food allergies.
What’s more, there’s an emergency room visit every three minutes due to a severe allergic reaction to food.
15. Food allergies cost the US about $25 billion each year.
Food allergies affect children (4–6%) more than adults (1–2%) in the US. Doctor’s visits accounted for the largest amount of money spent, followed by emergency visits, inpatient hospitalizations, outpatient visits, ambulance runs, and the use of epinephrine devices.
16. Allergy statistics for 2020 show that over 40% of children with food allergies have experienced severe reactions like anaphylaxis.
(Allergy Amulet) (HHP)
The failure to treat anaphylaxis with epinephrine within minutes of an attack increases the likelihood of fatality. The most common symptom of anaphylaxis is tightness or swelling of the throat, tongue, or uvula.
17. 7.6 % of children in the US have a food allergy, according to food allergies statistics.
As many as 40% of those children also suffer from multiple food allergies.
18. 30.4% of children allergic to food have multiple food allergies, according to statistics on food allergies.
Multiple food allergies increase the risk of accidental exposure to allergens and anaphylaxis. Currently, there’s no treatment for multiple food allergies, so it’s best to avoid foods that may trigger your symptoms.
19. Peanut is one of the most prevalent food allergens for children, according to peanut allergy statistics.
(AAAAI) (NCBI) (AAP)
Peanuts trigger immune system reactions in both children and adults due to their multiple protein content that aren’t found easily in our daily diets. Peanut allergy statistics from 2018 indicate that 2.2% of children were allergic to peanuts. Aside from peanuts, the most common food allergens for children are milk, shellfish, etc.
20. Food allergy statistics for 2018 reveal that 6.5% of children in the US had food allergies.
(Kids With Food Allergies)
That amounts to 4.8 million children under the age of 18. More recent data, that is, allergy statistics from 2021, show a rise in numbers. Namely, 5.6 million (7.8 %) of children currently suffer from food allergies.
21. Food allergy statistics in the US show that eight foods are responsible for approximately 90% of all food allergies there.
(Allergy Amulet) (Medical News Today)
Food allergies occur when the immune system incorrectly identifies some of the proteins in food as dangerous and attempts to protect the body from them. The good news is that most foods in our daily diets are not allergens. According to food experts, the foods that are the biggest allergy triggers are peanuts, shellfish, wheat, tree nuts, fish, eggs, milk, and soy.
22. More than 170 foods can trigger allergic reactions.
Almost everything we consume can be an allergen, from spices to seeds and meat. Luckily, according to food allergy statistics, only a handful of sufferers are triggered by the said allergens. The majority of reactions are related to the main eight food allergens.
23. Peanut, shellfish, and tree nut allergies are usually lifelong.
As kids grow, they become less allergic to milk, wheat, soy, and eggs. However, the rate at which kids outgrow food allergies these days is much slower than a couple of decades ago.
24. The most common food allergy in adults is shellfish allergy.
(Allergy Amulet) (Cleveland Clinic)
Food allergy statistics from 2020 indicate that about 60% of people with shellfish allergy first experience its symptoms as adults. Most people don’t consume shellfish until adulthood, which might explain why this type of allergy isn’t prevalent in children.
25. 10% of parents home school their children because of their food allergies.
Many children suffering from food allergies can’t participate in playtime and sleepovers with friends.
What’s more, food allergy statistics for 2020 reveal that more than 15% of kids are deprived of going to restaurants due to their condition. Over 10% don’t have the option of childcare or playdates due to their condition.
26. Food allergy statistics worldwide show that food allergies affect 220–520 million people globally.
(WAO, Page 48)
The frequency of food allergies has skyrocketed over the past couple of decades. Therefore, it’s now considered to be a global issue.
27. Most food allergies develop during childhood.
Although most food allergies occur during childhood, adults can also experience them, with at least 15% of people having food allergies first diagnosed during adulthood.
28. Females are slightly more likely to have food allergies than males.
(Healthline) (Food Navigator)
According to food allergy statistics, as many as 4.1% of women and 3.8% of men report allergic reactions. What’s more, the European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology found that 60% allergy patients are female. Experts attributed the prevalence of allergies in women to psychological and biological factors. There’s also a hypothesis suggesting that increased estrogen production in women increases their vulnerability to immune system diseases.
29. Only $76 million from public research funding (NIH) is set aside to address food allergies in the US.
The US spends billions of dollars on food allergies each year. However, the research budget for this menacing issue barely hits the $100 million mark.
The amount of money the National Institute of Health allocated for food allergy research in 2017 (over 70$ million) is double the amount set aside in 2015.
Allergy Statistics and Race
30. Food and drug allergies affect African-Americans and the elderly more than other races or age groups.
Both food and drug allergies can trigger severe allergic reactions such as anaphylaxis and asthma in patients. Such severe allergic reactions require constant monitoring and medical attention, which are often unavailable to the African-American communities.
31. African-American children in the US are more likely to have skin and food allergies than their white counterparts, according to allergy statistics.
(AAFA) (ACAAI) (NCBI)
Experts are yet to fully evaluate why African-Americans are more susceptible to allergies than other races. High levels of immunoglobulin E could be one of the causes.
32. African-American children in the US are more prone to asthma.
According to allergy statistics, black children are up to three times more likely to suffer from asthma than white children. A study shows that there’s a 13.4% chance for black children to develop asthma, while there’s a 7.5% chance for white children to develop the same condition.
33. White children are more likely to have hay fever than African-American children.
A 2010 research showed that white children had a higher chance of developing hay fever (10%) than black children (7%) in the US. Additionally, roughly 7.7% of US adults suffer from hay fever.
Allergy Statistics and Age
34. Roughly 13% of people aged 18 and above in the US have sinusitis.
Sinusitis is a condition in which the tissue surrounding the nasal passages becomes inflamed or swollen. Sinus infection can be triggered by many factors (cold, allergies, etc.).
35. Allergy stats indicate that allergic rhinitis affects 5.2 million children and 19.2 million adults globally.
Hay fever is a common condition that affects millions of people worldwide. It refers to irritation or inflammation of the nose. Hay fever symptoms begin upon exposure to an allergen and last until the allergen is removed. Hay fever symptoms could include runny nose, nasal congestion, sneezing, itchy throat, etc.
36. 9.2 million children had skin allergies in 2018.
Skin allergies are most common in children aged 0–4 years. Eczema, rash, itching, and swelling are some of the most common symptoms of skin allergies.
37. There’s a 30–50% chance that a child with one allergic parent will develop an allergy.
According to top allergy stats, children born into families with multiple members suffering from allergies are more likely to develop allergies than those without allergy history in the family. Interestingly, if both parents are allergic, the chances of the child developing an allergy double (60–80%).
38. Adults are more likely to manifest allergic reactions (anaphylaxis) to insect stings than children.
There’s a 3% chance for adults and only 0.4–0.8% for children to develop severe reactions to insect stings.
39. Milk allergies are the most common in children.
(Healthline) (Mayo Clinic)
Milk allergy statistics reveal that 2.5% of kids under three suffer from this form of allergy. Milk allergy can cause an individual to be severely ill and even lead to life-threatening reactions. Symptoms of milk allergy include wheezing, coughing, vomiting, diarrhea, throat tightness, etc.
Allergy Statistics for the US
40. More than 50 million Americans suffer from allergies each year.
30% of adults and 40% of children suffer from allergies in the US.
41. The annual cost of allergies to the US healthcare system exceeds $18 billion.
(AAFA) (Medicine Net)
Allergy statistics reveal that the cost of medical treatments in the US is very high. EpiPens cost hundreds of dollars, and they only last for a few months. Other factors that enter the overall cost of treating allergies are doctor’s visits, medications, specialty food items, and hypoallergenic household items.
42. More than 25 million Americans had asthma in 2019.
Allergy stats indicate that this amounted to about 7.7% of US adults and 8.4% of US children.
43. Over 60 million people in the US experience allergic rhinitis symptoms.
Allergic rhinitis is a nose disorder caused by the interaction of airborne allergens such as pollen with specific (lgE type) antibodies found in the body. Allergic rhinitis symptoms include; sneezing, runny nose, red, watery, and itchy eyes.
Allergy Mortality Statistics
44. Anaphylactic reactions to penicillin cause about 400 deaths per year.
Penicillin skin testing could help detect patients at risk of anaphylaxis.
45. Asthma alone causes 250,000 deaths globally each year.
It’s important to know that a high percentage of these deaths are avoidable.
What are the ten most common allergies?
The ten most common allergies are the following:
- Food allergies
- Drug allergies
- Skin allergies
- Insect allergies
- Latex allergy
- Mold allergy
- Pet allergy
- Pollen allergy
- Dust allergy
- Cockroach allergy
What is the most common allergy?
Food allergy is the most common type of allergy.
How many people die from allergies each year?
Food allergy death statistics show that less than 1% of patients die of food allergies. However, there‘s no way to determine the number of deaths due to allergies worldwide since not all cases get reported and treated in a healthcare facility.
What percentage of the population has a latex allergy?
1–5% of the global population has a latex allergy.
What percentage of the population is allergic to nuts?
Nut allergy affects approximately 1.1% of the US population. That’s about 3 million Americans.
Is there any permanent cure for allergies?
Unfortunately, there’s currently no permanent cure for allergy. However, some allergy forms can be outgrown with age, while others can be managed effectively with medication.
How do you know what you are allergic to?
The most reliable way to find out what you are allergic to is to undergo a blood or skin allergy test.
What are the top 8 allergens?
The top eight allergens are the following:
- Insect venom
- Animal proteins and dander
- Food (nuts, soy, egg, peanut, milk, fish, wheat, and animal meat)
- Natural rubber latex
- Fungal spores
What food allergies can children outgrow?
Children can outgrow the majority of food allergies with age. Food allergy statistics reveal that 80% of children allergic to cow milk and soy eventually outgrow it. Similarly, two-thirds of children with egg allergies to eggs overcome it until the age of five.
How can I cure my allergies?
There‘s no way to permanently cure allergies. However, there are ways to keep them under control. You can try to avoid the allergen, or use antihistamines and anti-inflammatory medication. You can also try introducing some dietary changes, or give acupuncture a chance.
Allergy statistics show that allergies are widespread and that they affect millions of people around the globe. Food allergies are the most common form of allergies, and their symptoms may range from mild to severe and life-threatening. Though there’s currently no cure for allergies, medications and natural remedies can help keep your condition under control.
- AAP News
- Allergy Amulet
- Allergy UK
- Cleveland Clinic
- Cleveland Clinic
- Food Navigator
- Kids With Food Allergies
- Mayo Clinic
- Mayo Clinic
- Medical News Today
- Medicine Net
- Minority Health
- World Allergy