The State of Childhood Allergies in America

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When we officially decided to pursue a new product to make allergen introduction easy and useful, we noticed that very little data was from the United States. Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS), however, published a great report on the state of allergies in the US using data from their members. 

TL;DR Biggest Findings

  • Allergy diagnosis rates are NOT related to income, meaning they cut across people with all levels of financial means to deal with them
  • Allergic reactions to foods make up nearly half (47 percent) of anaphylaxis episodes. BUT the other half of anaphylaxis episodes are due to unknown or unspecified causes (see image above).
  • Half of allergies are rhinitis, and the next biggest group is dermatitis. Food allergies actually make up the smallest group.
  • Rates of all types of allergies go down as children get older. 25 percent of all children 0 to 2 have one or more allergy, but only 14 percent of children aged 14–18 say the same. Allergy rates drop more for boys as they age than for girls.

What Does It Mean for Us?

  • If only 50% of anaphylaxis is from food allergies, it implies that we are seeing more super-sensitive or over-reactive immune systems, but not just to food.
  • Peanuts, tree-nuts, seeds, and eggs are the most common culprits when it comes to food allergens. If you remember this, you won’t be surprised to see what products we are working on next.
  • As parents—or simply people concerned for children’s welfare—we have to keep combating the causes of hay fever, asthma, and eczema as much as food allergies.
  • There is hope! Through a combination of management, smart parenting, and simply time, we can help our kids. In our house, we seem to have figured out the right regimen of inhalers, lotion, and diet to keep things in check but if time is on our side too, that’s great news.

Definitions

Rhinitis - the clinical term for hay fever. “Rhin” refers to the nose, and “itis” means inflammatory disease, so this term refers to a disease causing symptoms in the nose, throat, eyes, ears, and roof of the mouth.

Dermatitis - the term for skin issues. “Derm” refers to the skin so this terms refers to a disease causing red, dry, and itchy skin. More serious dermatitis can have crusty scales, painful cracks, or blisters.

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