Be greater than your allergies



5 Allergy Myths

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Provided by The Weather Channel

With more than 50 million Americans suffering from allergies, there are bound to be numerous misconceptions about them. For instance, just because you have the sniffles, doesn’t mean you need to see your doctor about an allergy shot. While that one might be easy to figure out, some of the other common myths aren’t as black and white. We dive into your biggest allergy questions to decipher truth from myth.

  • MYTH #1—Getting a hypoallergenic pet will solve all of my pet allergy problems.

    Sadly, this false. While many “hypoallergenic” pets can potentially reduce your allergic reactions, there are no truly hypoallergenic pets according to the Mayo Clinic. And Dr. Clifford Bassett, founder and medical director at Allergy and Asthma Care of New York agrees. “It’s not an exact science,” he said, “I see people have allergies around all pets, whether they’re hypoallergenic or not.” Many of the commonly recommended pets for allergy sufferers will shed less and have shorter hair than their furry friends, but even so, fur is often not the trigger. “Often the allergen resides in the sebaceous gland and it will get into the fur or saliva,” Dr. Bassett added.

  • MYTH #2—Over time, my allergies can change.

    This one’s true! According to Dr. James Sublett, president-elect of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, it’s all about the environment around you. “It’s fairly complex, but yes allergies can change,” he said. Over time, your allergy symptoms may get worse because you moved and the new environment may have higher levels of your trigger. Conversely, Dr. Sublett said, “you may be living in an environment where there are really high levels of dust mites or animals, whatever it is, you can literally move next door and have less exposure and do better.”

  • MYTH #3—I can test myself for allergens at home.

    While they may be touted as a source for discovering whether you have allergies, at-home tests are not a great way to find out if you’re allergic to something. “The key with allergy blood tests is the interpretation,” Dr. Bassett said. “Board certified allergists around the country are trained in expert evaluations that are cost effective and can help pinpoint the actual allergy.”  Medical professionals will also be able to help guide your treatment.

  • MYTH #4—Consuming local honey will help protect me from pollen allergies.

    Unfortunately, basic biology debunks this myth. “Most studies have indicated that it’s not very helpful,” Dr. Bassett said. “[Insect-pollinated plants] aren’t typically the ones that cause allergies and pollen-triggered allergies, it’s the ones that are wind-pollinated that give everyone trouble.” Dr. Bassett noted that the difference in pollination, wind versus insect, creates a different pollen altogether. “People who eat honey can’t really depend on that to protect themselves.”

  • MYTH #5—Pollen allergies are limited to just springtime.

    If this were true, it would be cause for millions of allergy sufferers to rejoice. “I think the most common misconception about pollen and seasonal allergies is that they’re mild and short,” Dr. Sublett said. The spring allergy season can actually start in mid-February for most of the country, even with the cold weather, Dr. Sublett added. “You generally have two peaks with pollen allergies: tree pollen [early in the season] and then the grass pollens come out in late April and early May.” Dr. Sublett noted that allergens in some locations can be released around Memorial Day and hang around through July, meaning the spring allergy season generally lasts about five months.