Allergies are common occurrences in the world’s population, with the World Allergy Organisation estimating that allergies prevail amongst 10-40% of each country’s population. More than 150 million people across Europe alone suffer from allergies, which is estimated to grow to half of Europe’s entire population in just over a decade.
We explore the most common allergies around the world, how serious they are, and which of these top allergens might affect you and others around you.
What is the most common allergy around the world?
With allergies becoming more common as a prevailing issue for the livelihood of people, you might wonder which allergies are the most common? And indeed, how serious are these common allergies – in fact, it would be wise to consider looking into our international health insurance to be sure medical aid is available to you at all times. And to see which allergies may affect you or others you know down the line – read on to see the results our research yielded.
The most common allergies across the most populated countries
The following allergens are ranked as the most common across the most populated countries in the world:
Number of countries affected out of 100
The top 5 most common allergies across the most populated countries
We take a look at the top 5 most common allergens in more detail, and highlight the countries where these allergies are most common.
1/ Pollen allergy
Number of Countries: 39
It is indeed widely regarded as one of the most common allergies on the planet, pollen allergies came in as the most common in 39 out of the 100 most populated countries that we looked at.
With grass, trees and weeds being almost everywhere, pollen of the kind that causes the allergic reaction is nigh on impossible to avoid.
With it coming out as the most common in India, Japan and almost every European country on our list, it’s prevalent in some of the most densely populated areas in the world.
Pollen is the most common allergen in: Afghanistan, Algeria, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Belgium, Benin, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, DR Congo, Finland, France, Germany, Guinea, Haiti, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Mali, Morocco, Nepal, Netherlands, Norway, Pakistan, Senegal, Serbia, Slovakia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Togo, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Vietnam.
2/ Latex allergy
Number of Countries: 19
A surprising number of countries had latex as their most commonly searched allergy, with the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America noting that less than 1% of the US population has a latex allergy. However, it can be more prevalent in certain high-risk groups, such as children with spina bifida. And between 8-17% of people with a profession that requires the use of latex gloves also suffer from an allergic reaction to it.
With latex being in so many everyday items, it is a blessing more people don’t suffer a reaction to the substance. Latex can be found in products such as balloons, bandages, rubber bands, condoms and of course, rubber gloves.
Latex is the most common allergen in: Angola, Burundi, Cambodia, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Haiti, Kenya, Mozambique, Niger, Philippines, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Tanzinia, Uganda, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.
3/ Penicillin allergy
Number of Countries: 19
Coming in tied with latex allergies is penicillin, which is an antibiotic drug used to treat a range of bacterial infections. According to the NHS, around 1 in 10 people suffer from an allergic reaction to antibiotics, citing penicillin to be the most common specific drug to cause such a reaction.
It was the most common allergy in 20 of the countries we looked at, amongst those twenty are, the United Kingdom, Canada, Poland and Singapore.
Penicillin is the most common allergen in: Australia, Canada, DR Congo, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Malaysia, Myanmar, Papua New Guinea, Poland, Sierra Leone, Singapore, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Tajikistan, Thailand, Tunisia, United Kingdom.
4/ Cat allergy
Number of Countries: 10
The American Veterinary Medical Association cited in 2018, that nearly 32 million households in the United States owned, on average, around 2 cats, which makes it no surprise that cat allergies are so common throughout the world.
Even with a lint roller, it seems almost impossible to get every single hair cleaned up, certainly a tedious effort. Brazil, Mexico and the United Arab Emirates were among the countries that have cat allergies as their most common in our research.
Cats are the most common allergen producers in: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Madagascar, Mexico, Portugal, Romania, Turkey, United Arab Emirates.
5/ Dog allergy
Number of Countries: 4
The main source of dog allergen is a protein found in dog saliva, but dander (made up of skin particles) is thought to contain allergens as well. While all dog breeds can potentially cause allergies, the degree to which they are suffered will vary because of the variation in how much hair and skin flakes different breeds shed.
Dog allergies, along with other types of pet allergies, are a common trigger for allergic diseases such as asthma and allergic rhinitis (hay fever).
Dogs are the most common allergen producers in: Bolivia, Honduras, Nicaragua and the United States.
The most common allergies worldwide
The following allergens are ranked as being the most common allergies worldwide:
|Rank||Allergy||Global avg number of Google searches|
|6||Oral allergy syndrome||356,300|
|8||Dust mite allergy||310,500|
|12||Nickel allergy Rica||229,500|
|26||Tree nut allergy||73,200|
|30||Red meat allergy||51,400|
|39||Almond milk allergy||16,500|
|45||Balsam of Peru allergy||11,180|
|48||Nail polish allergy||10,400|
The top 5 most common allergies worldwide
We take a look at the top 5 most common allergens in more detail, and highlight the number of annual Google searches each one has achieved.
1/ Dog allergy
Annual Google searches: 633,000
Going back to the American Veterinary Medical Association, around 48 million households own at least one dog and let’s face it, dogs are one of the most commonly owned pets in most places on the planet. That said, it’s not surprising that dog allergies are so prevalent, especially with some breeds, such as Siberian Huskies and German Shepherds, shedding such crazy amounts of hair and dander.
However, dogs don’t necessarily need to shed to cause an allergic reaction, just close proximity to your four-legged friend could cause an array of discomforting reactions. It is also false to assume that one will simply “outgrow” the allergy to dogs, in fact, the allergy can worsen over time and have quite serious symptoms, especially in those suffering from things like asthma.
2/ Penicillin allergy
Annual Google searches: 561,600
With penicillin being such a common drug used in the treatment of bacterial infections, one might suppose that it may not be so common an allergy–however, it hit 561,000 global searches this past year. Thankfully, there are a variety of other antibiotics that can be used as a safe alternative for those who have a penicillin allergy.
However, it has been shown that penicillin allergies may be over-reported as they are commonly misdiagnosed when the actual cause is due to the passing side effects of medication. Unlike pet allergies, it is possible that an individual may outgrow an allergy to penicillin over the course of a few years.
3/ Pollen allergy
Annual Google searches: 513,900
Pollen comes in third, with a global annual of 513,900 Google searches this past year. It should be no surprise, with greenery being numerous and pollen is obviously carried in the air, one might feel it impossible to escape it and as consequence, struggle to enjoy the summer.
It is often a misconception that flowers can trigger a pollen allergy, the more likely culprits are to be grass, trees and weeds – so watch out for anyone cutting the grass in their gardens. It is also a common mistake to think that pollen isn’t an issue in desert areas, however, even grass and ragweed pollen is found out there and even at the beach, such pollens are present.
4/ Latex allergy
Annual Google searches: 507,200
Latex allergy is next, with over 500,000 global annual Google searches, it is often thought of as one of the less common allergies, with low percentages of the population suffering from it. Most people that have a latex allergy can even be allergic to things that aren’t truly latex, but rather similar to it. In fact, there are a variety of foods that have proteins in them that trigger a latex allergy, such as avocados, chestnuts, celery and even bananas–these are referred to as cross latex reactive foods.
Most people that have regular contact with latex substances are of the opinion that they need not worry about having a reaction, however, that is false. It is a cumulative process, the more that you have contact with latex, the more likely you are to later develop a problem.
5/ Cat allergy
Annual Google searches: 419,400
Another of the most common types of animals to own as pets, cats take the fifth and final spot, with an average annual of 419,400 Google searches globally. A similar tale to that of dog allergies, there is no need for a cat to shed to cause an allergic reaction (even though cat hair gets everywhere).
It is commonly thought that people with cat allergies should get themselves a sphynx cat, on account of their lack of hair, however, they still produce dander–which is the bits of dead skin that cats also shed and cause allergic reactions.
Wherever you move, go with total peace of mind
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To start with, we gathered a rather extensive list of allergies, ending up with over 80 and then we took the top 100 most populated countries – having to omit some countries where Google search data was not available.
Once both lists were compiled, we use Google Keyword Planner to gather search data for each of the countries. Where there were ties for the annual monthly search for individual countries, we took the searches of each month and added them together to break the tie–in the event it was still a tie, each of the tied allergies was included.
Then we took the annual search data for each allergy in the world, to get overall global numbers to form the global common allergy ranking.