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Allergies Health Center

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Allergy Statistics and Facts

How many people in the U.S. are allergic -- to ragweed pollen, cat dander, or food? What sort of impact do allergies have on society? Here's a rundown of some of the most important allergy statistics -- based on the best available data.

  • Number of people in the U.S. who have either allergy or asthma symptoms: one in five.
  • Percentage of the U.S. population that tests positive to one or more allergens: 55%.
  • Rank of allergies among other leading chronic diseases in the U.S.: 5th.
  • One estimate of the annual cost of allergies to the health care system and businesses in the U.S.: $7.9 billion.
  • Number of workdays lost each year as a result of hay fever: 4 million.
  • Number of weeks by which the ragweed pollen season has increased in the last 10 to 15 years, likely as a result of global warming: four.
  • Odds that a child with one allergic parent will develop allergies: 33%.
  • Odds that a child with two allergic parents will develop allergies: 70%.
  • Number of ER visits in the U.S. caused by food allergies each year: 30,000.
  • Percentage of the people in the U.S. who believe they have a food allergy: up to 15%.
  • Percentage of the people in the U.S. who actually have a food allergy: 3% to 4%.
  • Percentage of our lives that we spend indoors: 90%.
  • Degree by which levels of indoor pollution in U.S. homes exceed levels of outdoor pollution: two to 100 times, depending on factors such as whether the residents smoke.
  • Percentage of U.S. households with one or more dogs: 39%.
  • Percentage of U.S. households with one or more cats: 33%.
  • Percentage of all U.S. households with detectable levels of dog and cat dander: 100%.
  • Percentage of people in the U.S. that have asthma: 8%.
  • From 2001 through 2009, asthma rates rose the most among black children, almost a 50% increase.
  • On average, in 2008 children missed 4 days of school and adults missed 5 days of work because of asthma.
  • Percentage of people hospitalized for asthma who are children: About 44%.
  • Number of deaths each year in the U.S. from asthma: 3,447 in 2007.
  • Number of people with chronic allergy-like symptoms -- runny nose, congestion and cough -- but who have nonallergic rhinitis instead: one out of three.

Recommended Related to Allergies

Fragrance Allergies: A Sensory Assault

Do any of these scenarios sound familiar? You catch a whiff of a co-worker's new fragrance, and within minutes, you have a whopper of a headache. You pop open that new bottle of dish-washing liquid, and by the time you've washed the pots and pans, your hands and arms are covered in hives. You walk into a friend's home and smell freshly baked pumpkin pie. Only after you start sneezing uncontrollably and feeling dizzy, weak, and sick to your stomach do you learn she hasn't been baking --...

Read the Fragrance Allergies: A Sensory Assault article > >

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Kimball Johnson, MD on August 02, 2012

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