Is Joint Pain An Allergic Reaction

Question

Asked by Bev Wolfgram

Is Joint Pain An Allergic Reaction

I get total joint pain and swelling of hands when exposed to allergens. Also experience incapaciating fatigue - can't move. Is this common with allergic reactions?

thank you

Answer

Hi BW, Your question is very difficult to answer without having more information. What is your age? How soon do your symptoms begin after exposure? What are the specific triggers (food, drug, beverage, contact ant...)? When did this start? Is there a pattern (certain time of day or night or year)? How long does the swelling last? Is it confined to the joints? Is there a family history of this problem? Have you had fever or sweats? Is there a family history of Lupus or other rheumatoid diseases? Do you get hives also? The above questions are a sampling of what would be asked if you presented to my office. Allergic reactions from outdoor and indoor aeroallergens are not associated with joint pain and swelling. Some forms of urticaria and angioedema (hives and swelling) may be associated with pain (but usually not confined to the joints). A reaction to some drugs may cause a problem called serum sickness syndrome (SSS). This may occur several days after starting an antibiotic or other drug. All the symptoms you described may occur in SSS but often hives are included. Fatigue is not uncommon with severe sinus allergy and asthma but incapacitation is unusual. Some infections may be associated with the symptoms you are having. You should have a full work up by your primary doctor. A specialist should be considered if the diagnosis is unclear. Certain blood test should be ordered after your evaluation to look for signs of infection, allergic reaction or a rheumatoid problem (depending on your medical history and physical exam). A pregnancy test would also be considered based on your age and history.

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J. Thompson, MD

Answered by James Thompson, M.D.