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Majority of Americans Sensitive to at Least One Allergen

Most common culprits are dust mites, rye grass, ragweed and cockroach, study says

TUESDAY, Aug. 9, 2005 (HealthDay News) -- The majority of Americans are sensitive to one or more common allergens, new study findings suggest.

Among people aged 6 to 59 years, 54.3 percent had a positive allergy skin test to at least one of 10 common allergens, according to a report published in the August issue of the Journal of Allergy & Clinical Immunology.

Among the study's other findings:

  • People with a positive skin test reacted to an average of three to five allergens.
  • The most common skin-test reactions (accounting for 25 percent of the people) were to dust mites, rye grass, ragweed and cockroach. The least common reactions were to peanut, accounting for 9 percent.

The study authors noted that a positive skin-test response is a risk factor for allergic diseases such as hay fever, asthma and eczema.

The study was done by researchers at the U.S. National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. It was based on data from the third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.

More information

The American Lung Association offers tips on how to control allergens in your home.

SOURCE: American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, news release, Aug. 9, 2005.
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