Incidence of Allergies Similar Across Country

Published Online: Tuesday, April 15, 2014
Allergy prevalence among Americans older than 5 years is the same across different regions of the country, the results of a recent study indicate.

The study, published online on February 11, 2014, in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, analyzed data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2005-2006 for regional trends in allergic sensitization. Participants were tested for serum-specific immunoglobulin Es (sIgEs) for various inhalant and food allergens. The researchers also analyzed demographic information and other characteristics from questionnaires.

Overall, 44.6% of participants 6 years and older had detectable sIgEs and 36.2% of children aged 1 to 5 years were sensitized to at least 1 allergen. Sensitivity to specific allergens and allergen types varied by region; however, the overall prevalence of allergies did not significantly differ by geographic location. Children 5 years and younger from the South, however, did have a higher prevalence of allergies compared with young children living in all other regions. In a multivariate model, the results also indicated that males, non-Hispanic blacks, and those who avoided pets were at an increased risk for having allergen-specific immunoglobulin E antibodies.

“This study suggests that people prone to developing allergies are going to develop an allergy to whatever is in their environment,” Darryl Zeldin, MD, scientific director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, said in a press release.

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