Why Allergies Are on the Rise



According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), more than 15 million Americans suffer with allergies, which is the body’s overreaction to its immune system. Often times, the body locates foreign invaders, which could be a food, pollen, toxin, medication or other substance, and produces an immediate allergic reaction. Often times, the reaction will present troubled breathing, hives, rashes or significant consequences that could be life threatening if not immediately treated.

The CDC notes that allergies triggered by the environment and food have risen significantly in recent years, especially in children. The rising numbers are considered epidemic in scope, because many of the associated allergic reactions involve disfiguring skin conditions and/or respiratory diseases that could be potentially fatal or require extensive long-term care.

The latest data accumulated from a large government study showed the increase of food allergies. Approximately 3 percent of children in the population younger than 18 suffered allergies back in 1997. That number reached over five percent by 2011. In addition, the percentage of skin allergies rose from just over 7 percent to well over 12 percent at the same time.

Anaphylaxis Shock

Many individuals that suffer from severe allergies always have the potential of suffering anaphylactic shock. Anaphylaxis is a sudden, serious and potentially fatal allergic reaction that requires emergency medical treatment. As a result, people with allergies must take extraordinary steps to reduce the potential risk of anaphylaxis by preventing exposure to any potential trigger.

In addition, it is important that they, and those around them, can recognize any early sign of a serious allergic reaction, and be prepared to provide emergency treatment. Common anaphylactic reactions can occur from latex, medications, bee stings, insect bites and food.

A Change in Diet

Study data from the CDC note the significant change in daily diets consumed by adults and children. Compared to decades ago, modern societies consume higher quantities of processed foods and substantially less fruits and vegetables. Some researchers suggest a higher number of wheat, soybeans, shellfish, fish, eggs, milk and peanut products along with tree oils in the modern diet have escalated the potential of developing food allergies.

Others suggest that processed foods are consumed with reduced amounts of nutrients that are beneficial to maintaining optimal immune systems. Many diets are low in omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D and antioxidants, which are known to have a direct correlation with the development of allergies.

Vitamin D is essential to optimal immune system health and early lung development. However, because vitamin D is missing from most diets, it can only be absorbed through the skin from direct sunlight. Unfortunately, absorbing the vitamin through sunlight poses a problem, as more children and adults spend less time outdoors, or use sunscreen to guard against the potential of developing skin cancer.

Environmental Factors

The worldwide environment in the 21st century is much different than it was just five decades ago. Some research has provided evidence that environmental pollutants are exacerbating existing respiratory allergies. Other evidence has a direct correlation with our obsession with cleanliness. Our heavy use of antibacterial soaps has declined our daily exposure to bacteria and the ability to guard against harmful microorganisms, making us more susceptible to allergies.

Legal Remedies

The increased number of individuals suffering anaphylactic shock caused by an allergic reaction has also escalated personal injury cases. Anaphylactic shock lawsuits are often filed when evidence is found that the victim consumed products that were mislabeled, or from a failure to inform an individual of possible cross-contamination in a restaurant, manufacturing plant, or other public location. When negligence has been proven, all responsible parties are required to compensate the survivor of anaphylactic shock, or the surviving family members of the individual who died.

Anaphylactic shock lawsuits can recover financial compensation to cover a variety of expenses and loss including:

• Medical expenses
• Lost wages
• Emotional distress
• Pain and suffering
• Other significant damage

Surviving family members of an individual that was the victim of an anaphylactic shock fatality can file a claim for compensation under the wrongful death law.