Although the annual prevalence of physician-diagnosed hay fever has been previously reported, the prevalence of allergic rhinitis symptoms in the United States is uncertain. The purpose of this study was to estimate the prevalence of allergic rhinitis symptoms in the United States. A self-administered 10-item screening questionnaire regarding nasal symptoms was sent to representative households in the United States in January 2004. A total of 8708 members (44.3%) reported nasal symptoms on ≥7 days in the past 12 months. The majority of these responders described their symptoms as seasonal or perennial allergies (n = 5944) compared with cold or flu only (n = 1 841), cold or flu and vasomotor rhinitis (n = 175), or vasomotor rhinitis only (n = 748). The prevalence of self-reported seasonal and perennial allergic rhinitis symptoms on ≥7 days in the past 12 months was 30.2%, which corresponds to 89.6 million persons in the United States. The prevalence of self-reported physician-diagnosed seasonal or perennial allergic rhinitis with symptoms on ≥7 days was 22%, or ∼65 million persons nationwide. Among responders with a higher burden of nasal symptoms (≥30 days), the prevalence of physician-diagnosed hay fever, allergic rhinitis, or nasal allergies was 11.9% of the total population. The prevalence of nasal symptoms attributed to rhinitis related to seasonal and perennial allergies in the United States ranged between 11.9 and 30.2% depending on duration of symptoms and physician diagnosis. Almost one-half of Americans experience troublesome nasal symptoms on at least 7 days throughout the year, with most attributing their symptoms to allergies.
Asthma and Allergy Associates, Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA
Publication date: November 1, 2008
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