Stop Kidding Yourself!

You Can’t Get Away From Allergies

If you have been in any allergy-related business, you have heard the question many times. “Where can I move so my allergies aren’t so bad?”

A recent study published in the Journal of Allergy and Immunology, Prevalence of allergic sensitization in the United States: Results from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2005-2006, asserts that there are no regional difference in allergies in the United States. You can read the entire article here
The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology

The researchers sifted through the massive amount of information collected by the NHANES 2005-2006, which included 10,348 subjects; and oversampled the specific demographics of low income, people aged 12 to 19 years and over 60 years of age, African Americans, and Mexican Americans to ensure adequate samples for subgroup analyses.

They looked at the participants by Census regions in the United States and discovered few differences in the percentage of the population that had allergies. This means that if you are already prone to allergies, it does not matter where you live. If you live in an area with prevalent elm pollen, you will be allergic to elms. If you live in an area with no elms but many birch trees, then you will be allergic to birch trees. If you are allergic to the trees in your area, moving to an area with another type of tree will not bring life-long allergy symptom relief, as you will probably develop an allergy to the pollens produced by trees no matter where you live.

There was a slight increase in the sensitization levels for dust mite and cockroach for people that lived in the South. Sensitivity to outdoor allergens (pollen in particular) was slightly higher in the West with Russian Thistle being the most common culprit. These differences however were only very slight.

However, your level of urbanization did play a role in sensitivity to outdoor allergens. The higher the density of population, the higher the chance of being sensitive to allergens. If you live in an area with a population of one million or more, there is a 50% chance you are sensitive to one or more allergens. This rate drops to 40% for nonmetropolitan areas. When looking at outdoor allergens in particular, 37% of the participants in metropolitan areas were sensitive to pollen as opposed to only 22% of those living in non-urban areas.

What they did discover is that your race/ethnicity and gender did play in role. Among those 6 years of age or older; non-Hispanic blacks had the highest level of sensitivity to all allergens. The group with the highest level of sensitivity was non-Hispanic black males over the age of six that had little or no exposure to pets. This study reinforces others indicating that exposure to household pets actually decreases the likelihood that you will have allergies.

If you are the parent of a child with food allergies, take hope in knowing they discovered that the population with food allergies decreased after the age of six. Yes, you can outgrow a food allergy.

Therefore, if you were planning to leave Little Rock, Arkansas for Columbus, Ohio in hopes of seeking allergy relief you can unpack your bags. It really will not do any good. While the grass may look greener over the fence, it still has just as much pollen.

Wishing you the best of health



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