Peanut allergies are up 21 percent since 2010, a new national survey shows. The survey data was shown at the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology 2017 Annual Scientific Meeting. IT also showed that the risk of peanut allergy is roughly double for black children versus white children and that prevalence in the U.S. is now 2.5 percent.
"This is really important because, for a long time, we thought food allergy didn't affect minorities as much," said Ruchi Gupta, MD, associate professor of pediatrics and medicine at Northwestern Medicine in Chicago.
The survey covered 53,575 American households and was conducted from October 2015 to September 2016. It included self-reported allergies, but did not clarify with medical diagnosis follow-up.
The data shows that nearly half of adults developed allergies in adulthood.
The survey suggests that about 45 percent of adults report developing an allergy after the age of 17. Allergies to tree nuts, fish, and shellfish were most common for adults. Sesame and peanuts were less common, but still significant for adult-onset allergies in the survey.
Racial characteristics again played a large role in the chance of adult-onset allergies. Asians were more likely to report a shellfish allergy, Hispanic adults were more likely to report a peanut allergy, etc.
Survey results show that follow-up with medical professionals is important.
Many of the self-reported allergies, Dr. Ruchi Gupta, associate professor of pediatrics and medicine at Northwestern Medicine in Chicago said, are likely intolerances, but cannot be diagnosed for sure without proper attention. Treatments are often available where patients believe there are no options.