Statistics related to asthma and allergies:
According to the latest available statistics from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases:


  • From 1990 to 1994, the number of people with self-reported asthma in the US increased from 10.4 million to 14.6 million.
  • Asthma was the first-listed diagnosis in 468,000 US hospital admissions in 1993.
  • Asthma affected an estimated 4.8 million US children (under age 18) in 1994.
  • Asthmatic youngsters under age 15 underwent 159,000 hospitalizations in 1993, with an average length of stay of 3.4 days.
  • Asthma is 26 percent more prevalent in African-American children than in Caucasian children.
  • African-American children with asthma generally experience more severe disability and have more frequent hospitalizations than do Caucasian children.
  • Among 5-24 year olds, the asthma death rate nearly doubled from 1980 to 1993.
  • In 1993, African-Americans in this age group were 4 to 6 times more likely to die from asthma than Caucasians.
  • Males were 1.5 times at greater risk than females.
  • Asthma treatment cost an estimated $6.2 billion in 1990, including direct and indirect expenditures:
  • Forty-three percent of that total cost was associated with emergency room use, hospitalization, and death.
  • Loss of school days, alone, caused decreased productivity that cost an estimated $1 billion.


  • While there are no solid statistics, estimates from a skin test survey suggest that allergies affect as many as 40 to 50 million people in the US.
  • Allergy testing was listed as the reason for 1.4 million office visits to physicians in 1991.
  • Pollen allergy (hay fever or allergic rhinitis) affects nearly 9.3 percent of the people in the US, not including those with asthma.
  • Allergic rhinitis was the reason for 7.6 million office visits to physicians in 1992.
  • Allergic dermatitis (itchy rash) is the most common skin condition in children younger than 11 years of age.
  • Urticaria (hives; raised areas of reddened skin that become itchy) and angioedema (swelling of throat tissues) together affect approximately 15 percent of the US population every year.
  • More than 1,000 systemic allergic reactions to natural rubber latex, including 15 deaths, were reported to the Food and Drug Administration from 1988 to 1992. Case follow-ups showed that the reactions were caused by residual rubber tree proteins in medical devices such as rubber gloves and catheters. Most (82 percent) allergic reactions to latex are caused by rubber additives.
  • Chronic sinusitis, most often caused by allergies, affects nearly 35 million people in the US.
  • Allergic drug reactions, commonly caused by antibiotics such as penicillin and cephalosporins, occur in 2 to 3 percent of hospitalized patients.
  • Eight percent of children younger than 6 years experience food intolerances. Of this group, 2 to 4 percent appear to have reproducible allergic reactions to food. In adults, an estimated 1 to 2 percent are sensitive to foods or food additives.
  • A severe allergic reaction known as anaphylaxis occurs in 0.5 to 5 percent of the US population as a result of insect stings. At least 40 deaths per year result from insect sting anaphylaxis.