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Indoor Allergens: Assessing and Controlling Adverse Health Effects
FIGURE 4 Estimated range of prevalence of diseases in total U.S. population that are commonly, although not invariably, related to allergy. Darker screen indicates the range in published data.
Source: NHLBI, 1991.
becoming sensitized to indoor allergens, the risk of developing an allergic disease, and the severity of the allergic disease.
Population-based and case-control studies suggest that indoor allergens are a major reason for trips to hospital emergency rooms.
Effective environmental control reduces disease severity.
Allergy also plays a key but sometimes unrecognized role in triggering asthma, a disease that deserves special public health attention because of its prevalence, documented cost, and potential severity. The following information provides perspective on the magnitude and cost of asthma:
An estimated 20 million to 30 million Americans—8 to 12 percent of the American population—have asthma.
Among chronic diseases, asthma is the leading cause of school absenteeism.
Asthma kills approximately 4,000 people per year (an increase of 33 percent in the past decade); in 1988, 4,580 people died from asthma in the United States.
Asthma mortality rates among African Americans are 2–3 times greater than among Caucasions; 5 times greater among children.
In 1985, an estimated 1.8 million people required emergency room services for asthma, 48% of these were children under 18 years of age.