Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New Survey Reveals Allergies Nearly Twice As Common As Believed -- Afflicting More Than One-Third Of Americans

Date:
August 12, 1999
Source:
American College Of Allergy, Asthma And Immunology
Summary:
Allergies affect about 38 percent of all Americans -- almost twice as many as allergy experts have believed -- and millions of them suffer unnecessarily or rely on medications they don't want to take because they don't know about other effective treatment options, according to a new survey released by the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI).

Yet Most Are Unaware of Treatments That Could Help Free Them From Symptoms

Related Articles


Arlington Heights, Ill., July 29, 1999 -- Allergies affect about 38 percent of all Americans -- almost twice as many as allergy experts have believed -- and millions of them suffer unnecessarily or rely on medications they don't want to take because they don't know about other effective treatment options, according to a new survey released today by the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI).

A representative sample of 1,004 adults were asked about their experiences with allergies. Thirty-eight percent reported having allergies, while 56 percent said they live in a household in which at least one member, including themselves, has allergies. The number of people affected surprised even allergy experts who thought the incidence of allergies was closer to 20 percent of the population.

Among those who said they live in households with members who have allergies, more than half (60 percent) could not name any treatments other than prescription or over-the-counter medications.

"This new data shows us that allergies are almost twice as common as we thought," said Ira Finegold, MD, past-president of the ACAAI. "What's of even greater concern is that the majority of people with allergies don't know about treatment options, such as allergy shots, that can bring them relief. A lot of them are either suffering from the symptoms or from medication side-effects."

Allergy Shots

Almost two-thirds of respondents who said they have allergies had never tried or considered allergy shots, also known as allergy immunization or vaccination. Allergy shots are a well-established treatment that naturally desensitizes the immune system. Small amounts of purified extracts of the substance causing allergic reactions are periodically injected and gradually increased until immunity is attained. They are effective against allergic diseases including allergic rhinitis (hayfever), insect sting allergy and asthma.

The treatment has a long track record of effectiveness and safety, with the incidence of adverse reactions less than 2/10 of 1 percent. It can be given to children as young as 4 and is safe for pregnant women as long as treatment was begun before pregnancy.

Though not well known, allergy shots are viewed positively by those who are familiar with them, especially by those who have had the treatment, according to the survey. The survey also found that 54 percent of respondents would be willing to try allergy shots if the treatment would free them from medications.

Survey Methodology

The ACAAI commissioned the national survey as part of a public education campaign to increase understanding of allergy immunization and encourage people who may be helped by this therapy to consider it. The randomized telephone survey was conducted by Opinion Research Corporation (ORC). Interviews were conducted with 1,004 respondents -- 502 men and 502 women -- 18 years of age and older living in private households in the continental United States. The survey results are projectable to the U.S. population and have a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percent to 4 percent.

"While we were discouraged by the lack of awareness of allergy shots, we were encouraged to see that those who do know about the treatment -- and those who have had the treatment -- have positive attitudes and correct perceptions about it," Dr. Finegold said. "People want the relief that allergy shots can bring and are willing to try the treatment if it will free them from their symptoms or medication side effects."

Treatment Costs

The only negative perception of allergy shots by a substantial number surveyed was related to cost. More than half answered "yes" when asked if they thought allergy shots are expensive.

"The perception seems to be that vaccination is a great treatment for allergies but is not affordable," Dr. Finegold said. "In fact, allergy shots often are covered by health plans and the treatment can eliminate the need to buy medications. Overall, it's often less expensive and more effective than relying on medications every day and trying to isolate the allergy-sufferer from the environment. In many cases, the shots eventually can be discontinued, along with allergy medications, and the immunity maintained."

Medications

In responding to questions about familiar allergy treatments, nearly a quarter of the respondents named specific over-the-counter medications. Another 14 percent named prescription medications. When asked where they get most of their information on allergy treatments, advertisements were the most often named source, cited by 68 percent of the respondents.

"The pharmaceutical companies have done an excellent job of making allergy sufferers aware of many effective allergy medications," Dr. Finegold said. "As allergists, we want the public to know about all their treatment options so they can find the ones that are most effective and best suited to their lifestyle."

As part of its campaign to increase awareness, the ACAAI has created a new consumer education quiz. The quiz will be made available on the College's Web site. The quiz tests an individual's knowledge of allergy treatments, and provides detailed answers. The College also has a free brochure, You Can Have a Life Without Allergies, available by calling 1-800-842-7777 or through the Web site. The brochure explains how allergy shots work and fit into the overall management of allergy and asthma.

The ACAAI is a professional medical organization comprising 4,100 allergists-immunologists and related health professionals dedicated to the clinical practice of allergy, asthma and immunology through education and research to promote the highest quality patient care.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American College Of Allergy, Asthma And Immunology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

American College Of Allergy, Asthma And Immunology. "New Survey Reveals Allergies Nearly Twice As Common As Believed -- Afflicting More Than One-Third Of Americans." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 August 1999. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/08/990812081249.htm>.
American College Of Allergy, Asthma And Immunology. (1999, August 12). New Survey Reveals Allergies Nearly Twice As Common As Believed -- Afflicting More Than One-Third Of Americans. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 29, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/08/990812081249.htm
American College Of Allergy, Asthma And Immunology. "New Survey Reveals Allergies Nearly Twice As Common As Believed -- Afflicting More Than One-Third Of Americans." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/08/990812081249.htm (accessed January 29, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Malnutrition on the Rise as Violence Flares in C. Africa

Malnutrition on the Rise as Violence Flares in C. Africa

AFP (Jan. 28, 2015) Violence can flare up at any moment in Bambari with only a bridge separating Muslims and Christians. Malnutrition is on the rise and lack of water means simple cooking fires threaten to destroy makeshift camps where people are living. Duration: 00:40 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Poultry Culled in Taiwan to Thwart Bird Flu

Poultry Culled in Taiwan to Thwart Bird Flu

Reuters - News Video Online (Jan. 28, 2015) Taiwan culls over a million poultry in efforts to halt various strains of avian flu. Julie Noce reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Media Criticizing Parents For Not Vaccinating Children

Media Criticizing Parents For Not Vaccinating Children

Newsy (Jan. 28, 2015) As the Disneyland measles outbreak continues to spread, the media says parents who choose not to vaccinate their children are part of the cause. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Shark Bite Victim Making Amazing Recovery

Shark Bite Victim Making Amazing Recovery

AP (Jan. 27, 2015) A Texas woman who lost more than five pounds of flesh to a shark in the Bahamas earlier this month could be released from a Florida hospital soon. Experts believe she was bitten by a bull shark while snorkeling. (Jan. 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins