Allergy prevalence is uniform across varying regions in the U.S, except in children ≤5 years old, according to a National Institutes of Health (NIH) study. This research represents the largest, most comprehensive nationwide study on allergy frequency over a wide range of age groups. The results were published online in the February issue of the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

The study compiled blood serum data from approximately 10,000 participants in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) from 2005–2006. Although there was no difference between overall frequency of allergies between regions, children ages 1–5 living in the southern U.S. had a higher incidence compared to their peers in other U.S. regions. The southern region included Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia.

RELATED: Allergic Disorders Resource Center

The NIH researchers attribute this variation to dust mites, cockroaches, and the increase in outdoor allergies as children age.  In the ≥6 years old demographic, males, non-Hispanic blacks, and individuals who avoided pets had an increased chance of having allergen-specific IgE antibodies. These antibodies are the most common markers of allergies.

Additional research will be conducted using large-scale NHANES data and dust samples from participants’ homes to explore the connection between allergen exposure and disease outcomes.

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