Most Americans Allergic to 1 or More Triggers
Allergies in the U.S. May Be on the Rise
WebMD News Archive
Aug. 5, 2005 - A growing number of Americans are allergic to at least one or
more common allergy-causing substances, like dust mites, rye grass, and
A nationwide health survey shows that 54% of Americans aged 6 to 59 had a
positive to at least one of 10 common
known as allergens. A positive skin allergy test is a
major risk factor for allergic diseases, including asthma, hay fever, and
Researchers say the rates of allergies to common triggers found in this
survey, which was conducted from 1988 to 1994, were two to five times higher
than those found in the previous survey in 1976-1980.
They say the results are consistent with other studies that suggest that the
number of people with allergies in the U.S. is on the rise.
America: An Allergic Nation?
In the study, researchers analyzed data on skin allergy tests from more than
30,000 Americans aged 6 to 59.
Participants were tested for allergies to 10 common allergens using a skin
prick test. Results showed that 54% had a positive skin allergy test to at
least one allergen.
The most common reactions were to dust mites, rye grass, ragweed, and
cockroaches. Based on these results, researchers estimate that more than 25% of
Americans are sensitive to one or more of these four allergens.
The researchers tested for the following allergy triggers:
- Dust mites
- Bermuda grass
- Russian thistle
- White oak
- The fungus Alternaria alternate
Other findings of the study include:
- People who had a positive skin allergy test to one allergen had allergies
to an average of three to five allergens in total.
- The least common reactions were to peanut, which accounted for 9% of
positive skin allergy tests.
- Men were more likely than women to test positive for allergies.
The results of the study appear in the August issue of the Journal of
Allergy & Clinical Immunology.