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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.

Review Date: 6/29/2011

Reviewed By: Paula J. Busse, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Division of Clinical Immunology, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY, Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

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