Half or more of the US population is sensitive to one or more allergens

October 5, 2005

More than 50% of the population of the United States suffers from an allergy, according to the findings of a study conducted by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

More than 50% of the population of the United States suffers from an allergy, according to the findings of a study conducted by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Those findings, published in the August issue of the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, show that 54.3% of people between 6 and 59 years of age have a positive skin test response to at least one of 10 allergens tested. Approximately 25% of the population tested positive for dust mite, rye, ragweed, and cockroach. The least common allergy? Peanuts (9%).

The 10 allergens tested included dust mite, perennial rye, short ragweed, German cockroach, cat, Bermuda grass, Russian thistle, white oak, the mold Alternia alternata, and peanut.

"Much research is needed for us to understand the complex relationships between exposures to allergens, the development of allergic sensitization, and the onset and exacerbation of allergic diseases such as asthma," said Darryl C. Zeldin, MD, senior author of the paper.