Allergies in the U.S. - Statistics & Facts

Allergies occur when a person is hypersensitive to something in the environment, causing their immune system to perceive the substance as harmful and therefore overreact to it. Symptoms vary in degree depending on the seriousness of the allergy, but often include a runny nose, watery or itchy eyes, sneezing, a rash, swelling and trouble breathing. Common allergens include pollen, dust, cats and dogs, different foods and drugs, latex, and insect stings. A Statista survey from 2017 found that approximately 20 percent of adults in the U.S. suffered from allergies or food intolerances.

Types of allergies

One of the most common types of allergies is allergic rhinitis, or hay fever, which results from allergens in the air. As of 2018, an estimated 7.3 percent of adults in the U.S. had been told by a doctor they had hay fever in the past year, while around 10.5 percent of those aged 12 to 17 years had been told they had such an allergy. As hay fever is caused by allergens in the air, geographic differences occur in prevalence rates, with the West reporting higher instances than other regions.

Skin allergies can be caused by things such as metals, some medications, latex, soap, laundry detergent and fabric softeners and affect around 12.6 percent of all children under the age of 18. Allergic reactions to food can also cause skin symptoms such as itching, redness, and bumps. Some of the most common food allergies include shellfish, milk, shrimp, and peanuts.


Allergies are often associated with asthma as the same substances can trigger both allergies and asthma. There is even a type of asthma known as allergic asthma that is triggered by an allergy, for example pollen or mold. In 2018, around 7.9 percent of the U.S. population currently had asthma with rates highest among those aged 5 to 14 years. Although asthma attacks are relatively common among those who suffer from asthma and can be a terrifying experience, medication can effectively prevent and treat attacks. In 2018, the death rate from asthma in the United States was less than 1 per 100,000 population for both males and females.

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Allergies in the U.S.

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Hay fever

Skin allergies

Food allergies



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