The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBSA) released a report called Childhood Allergies in America. The study showed that allergy rates among children increased from 2010 to 2016.
The study looked at about 9.6 million U.S. with health insurance, ages 18 and younger. It found that 18 percent of these children have allergies. They looked at anaphylaxis (a severe allergic reaction), dermatitis (inflamed skin or skin rash) and rhinitis (runny, stuffy nose).
The study found that:
- About 18 percent of all children have an allergy
- Allergies decrease as children get older – 25 percent of children 0-2 years old have an allergy, compared to 14 percent of children 14-18
- As they get older, allergy rates tend to drop more for boys than for girls
- Stuffy, runny nose (rhinitis) and dermatitis are the most common allergies in children
- The number of children “at risk” for a severe reaction increased 104 percent
- Emergency room visits due to anaphylaxis went up 150 percent
- Almost half of severe allergic reactions were from foods
Peanuts, tree nuts, seeds, milk and eggs caused the most reactions. But the source of most allergic reactions were not known.
- Peanuts caused 22 percent of reactions
- Tree nuts and seeds caused 15 percent of reactions
- Milk and eggs caused 6 percent of reactions
- Fish and shellfish caused 3 percent of reactions
- Fruits and vegetables caused 2 percent of reactions
- Unknown foods and insects caused 53 percent of reactions
The study shows the need to be prepared for a severe allergic reaction at all times. Read labels to avoid the food your child is allergic to and carry epinephrine at all times. Many epinephrine auto-injector options are on the market, including generics.
“As the rate of food allergies rises, this study highlights the increased need for awareness and education to help parents and caregivers recognize and properly treat anaphylaxis,” said Kenneth Mendez, president and CEO of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. “Patients are more likely to use their medicines if cost is not an issue. Thankfully, with new generics, we again have more options for epinephrine. And with new innovative treatments on the horizon, there will be options to reduce the risk of anaphylaxis.”