Allergies Rising

The Centers for Disease Control recently released a report on “Trends in Allergic Conditions Among Children”. This report analyzes data gathered on children in the US from 1997–2011.Their key findings are:

Food and skin allergies increased in children throughout the 14-year period.

  • Food allergies increased 1.7% from 3.4% to 5.1%.
  • Skin allergies increased 5.1% from 7.4% to 12.5%.
  • The incidence of respiratory allergies did not change significantly.However, respiratory allergy, found in 17% of children, is still the most common type of allergy in children.

Skin allergies decreased with age while respiratory allergies increased with age.

  • Food allergies did not change with the age of the children.
  • Skin allergies decreased with age; 14.2% in the youngest children and 10.9% in the older children.
  • Respiratory allergies increased with age; 10.8% in the younger children and 20.8% in the older children.

Implications of race (identified as Hispanic, non-Hispanic black, and non-Hispanic white):

  • Hispanic children had lower rates of food (3.6%), skin (10.1%) and respiratory allergies (13.0%).
  • Black children were 5.4% more likely to have skin allergies than white children (17.4% vs 12.0%).
  • White children were 3.5% more likely to have respiratory allergies than black children (19.1% vs 15.6%).

Implications of family income level (identified as less than 100% of the poverty level, between 100% and 200% of the poverty level, and above 200% of the poverty level):

  • The incidence of skin allergies did not change significantly as family income level changed.
  • The incidence of food and respiratory allergies increased as family income level increased.

Increasing allergy rates equate to increasing risks for children and those who work with them. We must all make sure that we understand children's known allergies, detail how to respond to an allergic emergency with these children, and to handle situations in which a child has their first allergic response while with us.

Misty

Jackson KD, Howie LD, Akinbami LJ. Trends in allergic conditions among children: United States, 1997–2011. NCHS data brief, no 121. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics. 2013.