Allergies occur when we inhale or ingest a foreign substance—i.e., an allergen—or when it enters our bloodstream. As a result, our immune system is triggered, and our bodies produce so-called IgE antibodies.
After the allergens sort of “clutch” to these antibodies, different chemicals are released into our blood, such as histamine, which actually cause the symptoms.
Because allergies can be a major problem in our lives, we’ve elaborated on the most important data in order to show the ways allergies can not only be an annoyance but a serious health threat.
A Review of Key Allergy Statistics & Facts for 2020
- 10%–30% of the world’s population suffers from seasonal allergies and asthma.
- 44% of British adults suffer from at least one allergic condition.
- 3% of infants have a milk allergy.
- 2.5% of children have been reported as allergic to peanuts.
- Allergies to cats and dogs affect 10%–20% of the US population, according to the pet allergy statistics.
- Data from 2017 suggests that the prevalence of peanut allergies has increased by 21% in the US.
- You can even be allergic to water and exercise.
- You’re less likely to have any allergies if you grew up with multiple pets.
- It isn’t safe to eat at an ice cream parlor if you’re allergic to nuts.
- Allergies can sometimes go away on their own.
General Allergy Statistics
1. 50% of school-age children have allergies.
We live in an industrialized world where the number of people suffering from allergic diseases keeps increasing, and this has been quite prominent during the last five decades. Around 50% of schoolchildren are reported as sensitive to at least one (but often more) allergens (this includes all types). The allergy statistics worldwide document 7.8 million children having respiratory allergies.
2. Anaphylactic reactions occur in approximately one in 1000 of the world’s population.
While anaphylaxis (the most dangerous type of allergic reaction) can occur as a result of food allergies, insect allergies, etc., some of these cases happen during general anesthesia. However, the stats say that the prevalence is about one out of 10,000–20,000 anesthesias. That’s why it’s essential that patients who undergo surgery inform the anesthesiologist of their allergies to any medications.
3. Around 150–200 people die in the US each year because of food allergies.
(How Stuff Works)
When it comes to a food allergy and the risk of death, the statistics are shocking. According to estimates, up to 62% of these fatal anaphylactic outcomes are caused by peanut allergies. In the UK, the statistics are more optimistic—no more than 10 people per year have been reported to die from food allergies. However, we can’t rely on these figures. For obvious reasons, deaths due to allergies aren’t the most reportable events.
4. As per the seasonal allergy statistics, it’s been estimated that 10%–30% of the world’s population suffers from seasonal allergies and asthma.
Moreover, 300 million people around the world are affected by asthma. It’s expected that the prevalence of asthma will increase further, since it’s directly related to seasonal allergies, caused mostly by pollen, and made worse by indoor allergens, such as dust mites. Still, we are waiting for the allergy statistics from 2020, 2030, and so on to actually find out.
5. The data on allergy issues in the UK show some of the highest global rates.
Over 20% of the UK’s population is affected by one or more allergies or allergy-induced diseases. Furthermore, allergy stats from the UK tell us that 44% of British adults suffer from at least one allergic condition, and the number of sufferers is still increasing. Out of the 44%, almost 48% have multiple allergies.
6. The asthma statistics indicate that over 25 million Americans suffer from this condition.
But what do asthma and allergies have in common? They often occur simultaneously. Namely, the same substances that cause your allergic rhinitis symptoms, such as pollen or dust mites, could also cause the so-called allergic asthma symptoms.
7. A cat and/or dog allergy, as per statistics in the US, affect 10%–20% of the population.
The expenses of animal allergies are very high when you actually have a pet you’re allergic to—and you’d (naturally) opt for a struggle rather than give up on your furry friend. The data reveals that for adults allergic to dogs who simultaneously own a dog, the overall acute asthma treatment costs are estimated at $500 million and might even reach $1 billion. If you know you’re allergic, but still love dogs, there are certain breeds that produce less dander which you can choose as your furry companion.
Food Allergy Statistics
Taking into account the staggering dangers of food allergies, we’ve dedicated a separate section to them. They have recently been subjected to a great deal of research—scientists are still puzzled over exactly why there’s been such an increase in the number of deaths caused by food allergies and what should be done for the figures to improve.
8. Over 170 foods are known to cause allergic reactions, according to the statistics on food allergy problems.
You’ve probably heard of certain food allergies—such as allergies to milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, and even sesame—as an increasingly concerning issue. But did you also know that all of these food allergies are actually the number-one trigger for the majority of serious anaphylactic reactions? Also, various food allergies commonly co-occur in a patient. The data suggests that about 40% of children with food allergies are allergic to more than one food.
9. Recent food allergy stats claim that up to 3% of infants have a milk allergy.
For a long time, it has been believed that by the time they turn three, babies outgrow whatever food allergies they’re diagnosed with, but fresh findings reveal that this may not be the case. A recent report suggests that only 20% of children have been reported to outgrow the allergy by the time they turn three.
10. We’re seeing a greater frequency of peanut allergies, as statistics report an increase in the number of children in the US with them.
2017’s research has reported that the number has increased by 21%. The data has also shown that black children are more susceptible to peanut allergies, relative to white children—and this seemed to be a very consistent conclusion during previous studies, too. Black children in the US are constantly at an elevated food allergy risk in general.
11. As per the allergy percentages today, 2.5% of children have been diagnosed with a peanut allergy.
The prevalence of peanut allergies has tripled during the past twenty years. What’s more, peanut allergy statistics unfortunately also reveal that it’s the leading cause of mortality among children who die from allergy-related issues. Although the experts claim that immunotherapy has had some effect in reducing the symptoms, there’s no standardized therapy that can ensure long-term improvement.
12. The number of medical procedures treating anaphylaxis due to food allergies rose by 380% between 2007 and 2016.
When it comes to medical procedures related to food allergies, statistics show that every three minutes, someone goes to the emergency room because of a food allergy. In the US each year, 200,000 people require immediate medical care for allergic reactions to certain foods.
Since food allergies are especially frequent in children, we also reviewed some of the older statistics on pediatric patients’ hospitalizations related to food allergies—between the 1990s and the mid-2000s, the numbers seem to have tripled.
13. Food allergy statistics from 2017 found that the chances of immunotherapy treatment boosting tolerance to an allergen are 30%.
(Wiley Online Library)
As extracted from various trials, after undergoing oral immunotherapy aimed at enhancing allergen tolerance, the chances that your allergy symptoms will improve aren’t that great. The data collected examined people suffering mainly from peanut and probiotic allergies. Furthermore, the results imply that there’s a high prevalence of unresponsiveness to the therapy in children (up to 82%).
14. Food allergy statistics from 2015 found that 65%–70% of the children expected to outgrow their milk or egg allergy were no longer verified as positive for the allergy after a few years.
While neither skin prick nor specific IgE testing is completely reliable, we can have caregivers observe and report whether their milk- or egg-allergic child has reactions to baked products containing small quantities of milk or egg and how severe the potential symptoms are.
Random Allergy Facts You Probably Didn’t Know
15. Allergies are primarily classified as indoor and outdoor.
Allergies to substances found indoors mostly cause the same symptoms (nasal congestion, post-nasal drip, etc.) as reactions to outdoor allergens (though they usually cause more sneezing and eye watering). Indoor allergens include pets, cockroaches, dust mites, and mice. On the other hand, outdoor allergies include allergies to trees, grass, and weed pollens.
16. You can even be allergic to exercise.
When it comes to allergies, one of the fun facts is that your immune system can make you react to almost anything. As silly as it sounds, some people do experience this. But keep in mind, this is generally classified as a food allergy because it has to do with what you ingest before your workout. However, unlike with real food allergies, any respiratory and skin symptoms will manifest only after your body has started to heat up from the physical activity.
17. Believe it or not, there are even weirder allergies: the facts show that some people are allergic to water.
This extremely rare condition is called aquagenic urticaria. People who are allergic to water will break out in itchy hives all of a sudden—usually after jumping into a pool or lake, or simply having a shower. However, researchers don’t really have a clear explanation of what triggers this, but it’s believed that some specific substances present in the water are to blame.
18. Another of our fun facts about allergies: kids who are raised in homes with multiple pets are actually less prone to allergies.
(Filtrete) (The Purrington Post)
30%–40% of children who have asthma are also allergic to animal dander—particularly cats’ dander. However, a recent study from the Journal of the American Medical Association states that children raised with two or more pets during their earliest years are less likely to develop allergies and allergy-related conditions. So, apart from filling your home with joy, your cat may be simultaneously improving your kid’s immune system.
19. One of the possibly surprising food allergy facts is that ice cream is among the highest-risk treats for you to eat if you’re allergic to nuts and peanuts—even if its flavor has nothing to do with nuts/peanuts.
This is the case mostly because the same dispensing machines and utensils are used for a variety of different flavors, which all have different ingredients. However tempting soft-serve ice cream or an ice cream parlor might be to you, if you’re allergic to any nuts, the safest option is that you forget about it and consume your ice cream from the supermarket, with labels that mark them as safe.
20. According to the allergy statistics by state, Mississippi and Tennessee are the worst states for allergies.
Researchers ranked cities based on average annual pollen scores and mold spore levels, as well as the average number of allergy medications used. All factors included, the final result was that Jackson, Mississippi, and Memphis, Tennessee, rank as places with pollen scores and mold spore levels worse than the average.
21. Pollen allergy statistics warn us that pollen seasons are getting longer than they used to be back in the day.
Every year, the allergy season seems to be worse than ever, and things are going to get even worse than that. Experts from the Allergy and Asthma Center in New Jersey claim that the reason for this is in the world’s increased carbon dioxide levels. These drive the plant reproductive cycle and thus more pollen is produced, which means more pollen scattered around.
1. What are the 10 most common allergies?
Some allergies are definitely far more common than others. The top 10 include allergies to shellfish (i.e., an allergy to anything from the shellfish family, such as shrimp or crab), certain insect stings, cockroaches, wheat (not to be confused with a gluten intolerance), milk, certain animals, latex, molds, dust mites, and finally, pollen.
2. What is the most common allergy?
A pollen allergy might be the most common one. In the US alone, it’s been reported that tens of millions of the population have a pollen allergy—not to mention the figures in the rest of the world. This is probably why each spring (the key time of year for seasonal allergies), we get updates on it in healthcare news. It’s never a bad idea to stay updated on the predicted pollen count, so you can undertake precautionary measures and start taking your medications on time.
3. How many people die from allergies each year?
Five Americans die each day from the most serious type of allergic reaction—anaphylactic shock (this stat includes anaphylaxis caused by all possible allergens, like medicines, food, insect stings, etc). It’s also estimated that the number of yearly emergency room visits due to anaphylaxis reach as high as the tens of thousands, according to the allergy statistics.
4. I’m allergic to my dog all of a sudden. What should I do?
Unfortunately, this can actually happen, since you can develop an allergy at any time. When it comes to a dog dander allergy, treatment hasn’t yet been determined, but there are some useful tips you should stick to. Make sure you always wash your hands after petting your dog, and limit the areas inside your home where your dog is allowed. Wash your bedding regularly, and if possible, try not to let your dog into your car.
5. What percentage of the population has allergies in the US?
Allergic conditions are reported to be the most frequent health issue in US children. Statistics from 2015 show that in the US, a similar number of children and adults were diagnosed with hay fever (around 8% for both). Food allergies seem to be the leading cause of emergency room visits—patients check in 200,000 times a year because of food allergies. Also, allergies are the sixth leading cause of chronic illness in the US.
6. What percentage of the population has a latex allergy?
The estimates suggest that around 6% of the population has this allergy, but this isn’t necessarily a big source of worry since the symptoms of a latex allergy aren’t severe and are mostly reduced to skin reactions after contact with latex (usually from dishwashing gloves or condoms).
7. Can you be allergic to some cats, but not others?
(Senior Cat Wellness)
It’s not unusual for one feline to cause an allergic reaction in an individual, while another won’t seem to. However, if you’re allergic to one cat, you’re most likely allergic to all of them. However, the severity of your symptoms can differ from cat to cat (i.e., the cats that are smaller in size with shorter fur might create only a mild reaction).
8. What percentage of the population has allergies?
Since there are too many types of allergies, and many patients aren’t aware of their condition, no study has been performed in order to determine the exact number of people with an allergic condition. However, there are many figures on the more common, specific allergies. For example, 35% of Europeans are reported to suffer from allergic rhinitis, while asthma (a condition associated with asthma) counts up to 235 million patients worldwide.
9. What percentage of the population is allergic to nuts?
A tree nut allergy is one of the eight most common food allergies, affecting roughly 0.5%–1% of the US population. Tree nuts include almonds, walnuts, cashews, hazelnuts, pistachios, Brazil nuts, and pecans. While being allergic to one tree nut does not imply that an individual is also sensitive to other tree nuts, certain tree nut allergies might be related. For example, many people are allergic to both cashews and pistachios.
10. Is there any permanent cure for allergies?
No, there isn’t. However, the symptoms are highly treatable, controllable, and sometimes even preventable. If you’re allergic to pollen, try to stay inside when the pollen count is high, and wrap your mattresses in a cover that protects it from dust mites. When it comes to food, simply avoid what you know you’re allergic to whenever possible. Unfortunately, this isn’t always possible if you don’t prepare the food yourself, since even small amounts of a particular food allergen can cause your immune system to overreact.
11. How many allergies does the average person have?
While this isn’t measurable, it’s true that one person can have multiple allergies. Furthermore, a person can have multiple unrelated allergies. Still, if a person is allergic to hazelnuts, this doesn’t necessarily mean that if they have another allergy, it must be to walnuts or another tree nut. They could just as easily have a milk allergy.
12. How do you know what you’re allergic to?
If you have any concerns about having an allergy, you should visit an allergist, a medical expert in the field of allergies who can perform allergy testing. From that, they can identify the cause of your symptoms, as well as develop a treatment plan that should control your allergy symptoms successfully. When it comes to allergy diagnostics, remember that one of the most important steps to provide is an accurate medical history.
13. How can I cure my allergies?
(Medical News Today)
While there’s no definite cure for allergies, there are numerous ways for you to improve your quality of life despite allergies. While with other types of allergies you should simply avoid the allergen, respiratory allergies’ symptoms are usually treated with over-the-counter antihistamines, such as loratadine (Claritin) or nasal corticosteroid sprays. There are also immunotherapy shots that can help decrease your sensitivity to the particular respiratory allergen.
14. Do allergies go away with exposure?
Most people develop allergies during childhood, but sometimes they outgrow it. Experts aren’t sure why allergies disappear in some people, and in some stay present as a lifelong condition. However, some advocate that over the years, as a result of long-term exposure, certain people may “grow accustomed” to it.
15. Do dog allergies go away?
There certainly are some chances of that happening. As people age, some of them really leave their allergies behind, whether it’s hay fever, pet allergies, or something else. One of the more interesting facts about allergies is that even if they don’t disappear completely, the symptoms might get much milder. It’s important you know that you’re not allergic to dog saliva—it’s the dog dander that causes problems. There are also some things you can do to make the allergies milder, such as keeping pets away from your bedroom, purifying the air, and bathing your pets.
While allergies are usually manageable conditions with bothersome symptoms, the risk of anaphylaxis is something to always keep in mind, especially if you’ve been confirmed to have any sort of food allergy. Educating yourself on how to react in case of an emergency and reduce the chances of further complications is the best you can do. Other types of allergies usually just cause discomfort, such as watery eyes and a stuffy nose, but with the help of an allergist, these are all highly controllable. Hopefully, our allergy statistics have been helpful in providing a somewhat clearer picture of how allergies function.