Did you know that you could be one of 50 million Americans with an allergy?

You read that right. Allergy statistics show more and more people are diagnosed each year.  

What’s more, 20 million US adults have hay fever, and the global population isn’t far behind.

Curious to find out more? Let’s dive into some fascinating allergy facts. 

Little Known Allergy Facts

  • Roughly 10%–30% of the global population has hay fever.
  • Some 40%–50% of schoolchildren worldwide are sensitized to one or more allergens. 
  • About 8% of US adults experience hay fever.
  • Each year, over 50 million Americans experience an allergy.
  • In 2012, 4.1 million kids had food allergies.
  • Allergy shots reduce symptoms in about 85% of people with allergic rhinitis. 
  • You can get an allergic reaction from more than 170 foods.

Allergy Statistics in the US

To start, let’s take a closer look at the common allergies around us.

1. Over 50 Million Americans Experience An Allergy

(Source: Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America)

  • Allergies rank the 6th as a leading cause of chronic illness in the US.
  • Each year, 200,000 Americans visit the ER because of a food allergy.
  • Allergies cost the US healthcare system over $18 billion annually. 

Allergies in America are so common that it’s no surprise they might be affecting you without you even knowing it. 

2. Acute Drug Reactions Account for 3%–6% of All US Hospital Admissions

(Source: World Allergy.org)

  • 10%–15% of hospitalized patients experience an adverse drug reaction.
  • If that’s not bad enough, 25% of outpatients do, too.
  • But a true drug allergy rarely occurs, accounting for less than 10% of all adverse drug reactions. 

Allergy statistics are on the rise, and so are drug reactions. 

3. 1 Million Children Suffer From Hay Fever Annually

(Source: Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America)

  • It’s not just the kids that suffer. Over 20 million US adults also experience hay fever each year.
  • In 2015, 8.8 million US children had skin allergies.
  • Insect stings are another concern, as the resulting allergies kill between 90–100 people in the US every year. 

While this is bad, the allergies around the world are even worse.

Allergy Statistics Worldwide

Globally, allergies are a growing concern since they affect more and more people each year.

4. Close to 340 Million People Suffer from Asthma

(Source: Research Matters)

  • Asthma is closely related to allergies. It kills 1150 people a day, and air pollution ranks as the number one cause for its global rise.
  • Four million new cases of asthma are recorded annually.
  • China and India are the most affected, with China recording 760,000 new cases of asthma per year. 

It’s no surprise that allergy statistics by country show that the areas most affected by air pollution have a much higher respiratory illness record.

5. Roughly 10%–30% Percent of the Global Population Has Hay Fever

(Source: American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology)

  • Environmental allergies affect 40% of the world’s population — that’s over three billion people.
  • Drug reactions affect 10% of people. While it doesn’t sound as shocking, that’s still 780 million individuals.
  • Common allergies are increasing daily worldwide. Between 40%–50% of school children are allergic to one or more substances.

The rise of allergies happened during the Industrial Revolution. They became far more prevalent among citizens and not just due to air pollutants but because of food, too. 

mixed nuts on a wooden board

Food Allergy Facts and Statistics

Food classifies among the primary allergy triggers worldwide. But what does this mean?

6. 32 Million Americans Have Food Allergies

(Source: Food Allergy Research & Education)

  • In 2012, 4.1 million kids had food allergies. This increased to 5.6 million in 2016 — that’s one in every 13 children or approximately two in each classroom. 
  • Shellfish allergies affect 8.2 million Americans, making it the highest recorded food allergen.
  • Milk and nuts are not far behind, each affecting 6.1 million people in the US.
  • While food allergy deaths remain very rare, they still happen. In 2019, eight people lost their lives due to a food allergy. Half of them were children around 11 years old.

What’s more, a child allergic to one type of food is 40% more likely to be allergic to others. 

The numbers don’t lie, and food allergies are on the rise. Chances are this is also contributing to the growing vegan statistics

7. Between 1999–2009, US Hospitalizations for Allergies Increased by 2.2%

(Source: US National Library of Medicine)

  • It may not seem like a lot, but the increase can be traced worldwide. Australia reported a 19.2% rise in allergy-related hospitalizations between 1997–2013.
  • The same goes for the UK, with reports showing a seven-fold rise in hospital admissions for anaphylaxis.
  • The increase in food allergies turns into a global concern, with more than 170 foods causing allergic reactions.

One of the most increasingly common food-related allergies comes from milk, so let’s see what dairy allergy statistics can tell us.

8. 65% of the Human Population Has Some Form of Dairy Intolerance

(Source: MedlinePlus)

  • If you think that’s high, it affects between 70%–100% of East Asian descendants.
  • Cow’s milk causes atopic dermatitis, also known as eczema, in 10%–15% of young children.
  • 50%–60% of children with a dairy allergy have GI symptoms, while 40%–50% have skin reactions.

Allergy statistics show that children with allergies are likely to grow out of them, except for nut allergies, which tend to be lifelong.

9. Only 10% of Children Will Outgrow a Tree Nut Allergy

(Source: American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology)

  • Between 0.5%–1% of Americans have a tree nut allergy.
  • Peanut allergy statistics show that’s one of the top eight food allergies.
  • 30% of those allergic to peanuts are also allergic to tree nuts. 

But that’s not all, there’s an increase in egg allergy statistics, too.

10. 2% of Children Are Allergic to Eggs

(Source: American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology)

  • The good news is that 70% of the affected children will grow out of it by the age of 16.
  • So, only 0.2%–0.3% of the adult population will remain allergic to eggs.
  • Previously, flu vaccines weren’t recommended for people with egg allergy. Luckily, that’s no longer the case. 

Thanks to growing food trends, many Americans believe in the rise of gluten allergy statistics. But how true is that? 

11. Celiac Disease Affects Only 1% of the US Population

(Source: US National Library of Medicine)

  • According to some doctors, there’s a rise in non-celiac gluten sensitivity, affecting 6% of Americans.
  • The global gluten-free food industry skyrocketed from $2.7 billion in 2015 to $5.6 billion in 2020.
  • In 2015, 6.5% of all US food sales were gluten-free.

There might be a slight increase in gluten allergies, but media and food trends are a massive part of their rising popularity. GMO allergy statistics are also a controversial topic.

 12. 90% of Food Allergies Come From Eight Foods

(Source: Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology)

  • The most common food allergens are soy, wheat, milk, peanuts, tree nuts, shellfish, fish, and eggs. So, other foods are causing only 10% of allergies.
  • Since 1992, over 1,300 tests conducted show no correlation between GMOs and allergies.
  • Some believe GMOs could even help as food can be modified to have less proteins causing allergies.

Farm food contains GMOs, so the topic is closely related to the reality of factory farming. You should know more about how animals are treated in these places.

But let’s move on from food allergy facts and leave these controversial topics for another time. 

a young man with glasses holding a small kitty

Pet Allergy Statistics

Aside from food, pet allergies are also widespread.

13. Three in 10 Americans Have a Pet Allergy

(Source: Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America)

  • Pet allergies also affect 10%–20% of the global population. No wonder that non shedding dogs are rising in popularity.
  • Americans have the highest rate of dog ownership worldwide
  • Unfortunately, the number of people allergic to dogs in the US adds between $500 million–$1 billion in acute asthma care costs annually. 
  • Three in 10 people with asthma can have a severe reaction to cat hair.

Testing for pet allergies in America can be a lengthy process, but you can quickly get an allergy test kit for dogs at home.

14. Cat Allergies Are Twice as Common as Dog Allergies

(Source: Live Science)

  • Cat allergy statistics show that one in seven children between the age of 6–19 has a cat allergy.
  • Surprisingly, it’s not feline fur that usually causes the allergic reaction but rather a protein in cats’ saliva, urine, and dander, called Fel d 1. It gets tricky as you can remove the cat from the house, but the protein can linger for over six months.
  • Carpeting can build up 100 times as many allergens as wood flooring. So, the first thing to do if you’re allergic and desperately want a kitty is to remove all carpets. The second is to get a good air purifier.

So, Mr Fluffy might cause some undesirable symptoms, but he’s not alone. Let’s check what the dog allergy statistics say.

15. 48% of US Households Have One or More Dogs

(Source: WebMD)

  • 90% of those homes have detectable pet allergens.
  • The US pet population is equal to four pets for every ten people.
  • 15%–30% of people with allergies are allergic to cats and dogs. 

Are you one of the hundreds of thousands affected by pet allergies? You’re most certainly not alone. Many studies are doing their best to find more ways of preventing severe reactions to pets. 

a flower releasing pollen

Seasonal Allergy Statistics

Seasonal and environmental changes bring about another common allergen.

 16. In 2018, 7.7% of the US Population Had Hay Fever 

(Source: CDC)

  • In the same year, 7.1 million children had respiratory allergies. Most of those stem from seasonal allergies.
  • Doctors recorded 12 million visits for allergic rhinitis in 2018.
  • Luckily, allergy shots reduce symptoms in about 85% of people with allergic rhinitis. 

Pollen allergy statistics show that’s one of the worst environmental allergens.

Wrap Up

Who knew there were so many allergy facts to learn?

We now know that 50 million Americans experience allergies every year. 20 million of them are from hay fever alone, which is also a problem for 10%–30% of the global population. 

With over 170 foods causing allergic reactions, food allergy statistics are also increasing worldwide.

Unfortunately, as much as we love our furry friends, three in ten Americans suffer from them, too.

Allergies are common, and they can be life-threatening. So, you need to understand the scale of the issue to protect your loved ones from harm. 

FAQ

How many people have allergies?

Over 50 million Americans experience allergies each year, making it the sixth leading cause of chronic illness.The WHO reports hay fever and sinusitis as one of the main chronic respiratory diseases worldwide, with 35% of Europeans and 10% of Americsan suffering every year. 

How many kids have food allergies?

5.6 million US children have food allergies. They’re more likely to suffer from food allergies than adults, but most grow out of them. That said, only 10% of those with a nut allergy will heal from it.

What are the 10 most common allergies?

The most common ones include nuts, pollen, dairy, dust mites, cats, wheat, eggs, penicillin, bee stings, and shellfish. What’s more, adults are more likely to experience a severe reaction to insect stings compared to children. Also, healthcare workers have a higher rate of being allergic to latex than the general population. 

Can you die from allergies?

Anaphylaxis is rare, but it still happens. If you experience sudden swelling, difficulty breathing, or hives, get to a doctor immediately or call 911. It can cause death in just 15 minutes, so if you know you have a severe allergy, always carry an EpiPen. 

Why are allergies becoming more common?

One reason is the air pollution that’s getting worse worldwide, resulting in far more respiratory illnesses linked to hay fever. Another interesting theory is that the western world has developed high sanitation standards, leading to less infections in children. Only these infections would help the body to prevent allergic reactions.

How common are peanut allergies?

1% of the US population has peanuts and tree nut allergies. It’s the highest ranking allergy among American children. It’s so common that food distributors are legally required to state if their products contain even the tiniest trace of nuts. 

How many people are allergic to cats?

According to allergy statistics, one in seven children between the ages of 6–19 has a cat allergy. But as much as we love them, cats are twice as likely to cause an allergy compared to dogs. Getting an exact number is challenging, but we know that between 15%–30% of people with allergies are allergic to cats and dogs.

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Emma is a lover of all animals. Her cat Pumpkin enjoys stretching out in the office while mom researches the best information on how to care for their fellow furry friends. Emma’s passion for animals started at a young age. Back then, she dedicated her time to shelters and vet clinics in South Africa. Her enthusiasm for writing and research is behind the most reliable information for pet lovers. She believes in treating animals with the devotion and respect they deserve.