More than fifty percent of the U.S. population tested positive to one or more allergens, according to a large national study.
The new findings, based on data from the third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III), shows that 54.3% of individuals aged 6-59 years old had a positive skin test response to at least one of the 10 allergens tested. The highest prevalence rates were for dust mite, rye, ragweed, and cockroach, with about 25% of the population testing positive to each allergen. Peanut allergy was the least common, with 9% of the population reacting positively to that food allergen.
The new findings published in the August issue of the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology were conducted by researchers at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, both components of the National Institutes of Health.
A positive skin test result may mean the individual is more vulnerable to asthma, hay fever, and eczema. “Asthma is one of the world?s most significant chronic health conditions,” said David A. Schwartz, MD, the NIEHS Director. “Understanding what may account for the rising worldwide asthma rates will allow us to develop more effective prevention and treatment approaches.”