Facts about Asthma and Allergies

  • Over 2 million Australians have diagnosed asthma.
  • More than 7 million Australians suffer with allergies.
  • About one in eight or nine children and one in ten adults have asthma.
  • Australia has one of the highest rates of asthma in the world.
  • The prevalence of allergic disorders has approximately doubled over the last 20 years in all countries in which it has been studied.
  • More boys than girls have asthma. However, after teenage years, asthma is more common in women than in men.
  • There is a strong link between asthma and allergy: more than 80% of people with asthma also have an allergy.
  • Children are the group that most commonly visits general practitioners or emergency departments or is hospitalised for asthma.
  • Health expenditure on allergic disease (including asthma) accounts for approximately 20% of health expenditure in Australia.
  • Around 11% of children who have asthma live with smokers and are likely to be exposed to passive smoke.
  • Despite the known additional health risks, just as many people with asthma smoke as people without asthma.
  • Nearly 10% of adult-onset asthma is caused by occupational exposures. 
  • People with asthma report poorer general health and quality of life than people without asthma.
  • Poorly controlled asthma restricts participation in normal physical and social activities.
  • Most people with asthma lead normal lives and can participate competitively in sport. Many of Australia's leading sportsmen and women have asthma.
  • In 2009, 411 people died from asthma - the latest figures. The risk of dying from asthma is highest in the elderly.
  • At present the cause of asthma and allergy is not known and there is no cure. However effective treatments are available.
  • Reduced exposure to allergen triggers may lead to improved control of asthma and reduce the need for medication.

Information source: National Asthma Council Australia, The Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy, Asthma Foundation

There are a number of other Asthma Foundations of Australia. Contact your local Asthma Foundation on 1800 645 130 or visit their websites:


Important notice

The information provided on this website is of a general nature and should not be used as a substitute for professional advice. If you think you may suffer from an allergic or other disease that requires attention, you should discuss it with your family doctor.

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