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Allergy Facts

  • Asthma and allergic diseases, such as allergic rhinitis (hay fever), food allergy, and atopic dermatitis (eczema), are common for all age groups in the United States. Asthma affects more than 17 million adults and more than 7 million children.1
  • Allergies are the 6th leading cause of chronic illness in the U.S. with an annual cost in excess of $18 billion. More than 50 million Americans suffer from allergies each year.2
  • Allergic rhinitis, often called hay fever, is a common condition that causes symptoms such as sneezing, stuffy nose, runny nose, watery eyes and itching of the nose, eyes or the roof of the mouth.
  • Allergic rhinitis can be seasonal or perennial.
  • Symptoms of seasonal allergic rhinitis occur in spring, summer and/or early fall. They are usually caused by allergic sensitivity to pollens from trees, grasses or weeds, or to airborne mold spores.
  • People with perennial allergic rhinitis experience symptoms year-round. Perennial allergic rhinitis is generally caused by sensitivity to house dust mites, animal dander, cockroaches and/or mold spores. Underlying or hidden food allergies rarely cause perennial nasal symptoms.
  • Once diagnosed, allergic rhinitis treatment options are: avoidance, eliminating or decreasing your exposure to the irritants or allergens that trigger your symptoms, medication and immunotherapy (allergy shots).
  • Immunotherapy (allergy shots) helps reduce hay fever symptoms in about 85% of people with allergic rhinitis.
  • The prevalence of food and skin allergies increased in children under 18 years from 1997-2011.3
  • In data published from the 2014 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), 8.4% of US children under age 18 suffered from hay fever, 10% from respiratory allergies, 5.4% from food allergies, and 11.6% from skin allergies.4


1. Allergic Diseases (NIH)
2. Allergies: Gateway to Health Communication (CDC)
3. NCHS Data Brief, Number 121 (CDC)
4. National Health Interview Survey, 2014 (CDC)

*Updated 2/18/16

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