Many people suffer from allergies. In the United States, 50 million individuals have them. That’s about 1 out of every 6 people! It’s the fifth most common chronic disease in the United States, and it’s become increasingly widespread over the last 30 years throughout virtually all demographic groups. And believe it or not, many patients that come to us in pain seeking pain management treatments are actually diagnosed and treated for an allergy.
Although allergies are prevalent, many of us do not understand what’s going on with the body during an allergic reaction. It may seem that the immune system has been overwhelmed by the allergen. However, that’s too simplistic: what’s actually occurring is that the immune system is in overdrive, reacting extremely to the introduction of a protein that it identifies as dangerous. Additionally, allergic reactions can often trigger painful symptoms and conditions.
The most common allergens
Allergic symptoms arise from allergens. Again, allergens are foreign proteins that the body perceives as harmful. Here are the most prevalent categories of allergens in the United States, in descending order:
- Environmental allergens – This type of allergen is by far the most common: about 80% of those who have allergies are most affected by environmental sources. In turn, 10 million of those individuals are allergic to cats. Weeds, grass, and trees are other typical triggers for environmental allergies. The allergic reaction arises from breathing in the foreign substance, such as pollen or dander.
- Skin allergens – This type of allergen is also often environmental, but the reaction arises from direct contact with the skin. About 1 in every 14 people suffering from allergies are largely affected by skin allergens: poisonous plants, cockroaches, latex, and certain foods.
- Food or drug allergens – Children suffer from food allergies more than adults do. Generally, 1 out of every 17 individuals with allergies are mostly affected by allergies to foods or drugs. Penicillin is the most prevalent drug that causes reactions. Food allergies usually arise (in fact, in 9 out of every 10 cases) from the following foods: shellfish or fish; peanuts or other nuts; wheat; milk; eggs; and soy.
- Latex allergen – About 1 out of every 25 people with allergies list latex as their main trigger.
- Insect allergen – The figures for bugs are about the same as they are for latex: 1 in every 25 allergic individuals experience insects (such as bees and ants) as their most frequent causes of reactions.
- Eye allergen – Again, the statistics for this type of allergen is about the same as for insects and latex. Allergies affecting the eyes are often the same as those listed in the “environmental” description above.
Are you suffering from allergies or believe your pain symptoms may be linked to allergies in some way? Do you feel that you may be taking too many drugs to combat your allergies? At Pain Stop we have “needle-less” allergy testing, so you don’t have to worry about a painful allergy testing experience. There are also many options for allergy treatment that don’t involve medication, including specialized techniques we use in our clinics. Book an appointment today for a needle-less allergy test and pain assessment from one of our trusted clinics.