Allergy Myths Debunked

If you are being plagued by sniffles, sneezes and itchy, watery eyes, chances are good that you have seasonal allergies. As allergy season takes its toll on the Atlanta area, you might be tempted to turn to home remedies or hit the internet looking for information to bring relief. Unfortunately, a lot of what you read online regarding seasonal allergies is not only false, but some of it can have dangerous repercussions. Here’s a list of some of the top allergy myths this year.

  • Local honey is a safe treatment for seasonal allergies. Many people swear by a teaspoon of local raw honey as a way to treat allergies. Because honey is made from pollen collected by bees, the assumption is that eating the pollen-laden honey will build immunity and reduce allergic reactions over time. While there has been some research to back this up, in general, if you suffer from allergies you should proceed with caution, especially if you have not had formal allergy testing done. Look at this idea logically. If you are allergic to something, pumping yourself full of the allergen without being under a doctor’s supervision could cause severe, if not life-threatening reactions. So before you run for the farmer’s market, do yourself a favor and visit your provider for proper testing and treatment options first.
  • Taking an antihistamine will relieve allergy symptoms. An antihistamine blocks histamines, which are the chemicals your body produces when you have an allergic reaction. While antihistamines are commonly part of a treatment plan, they are meant to prevent reactions, not stop symptoms. Once you have symptoms, such as sneezing, itchy eyes or sinus congestion, your reaction is well underway. “Instead, you would need a decongestant and steroid nasal spray, and maybe a short course of oral steroids, to relieve symptoms.
  • Some dogs, or cats, are hypoallergenic. When it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. When you see ads for hypoallergenic puppies or kittens for sale, don’t be fooled. Certain breeds do not shed, such as poodles, because they have hair versus fur, but a study conducted in 2011 and published in the American Journal of Rhinology and Allergy showed that households with only Poodles and other “hypoallergenic” breeds have just as high of an allergen count for pet dander as households that have mixed breed or breeds with normal fur.

Ramie Tritt, M.D., President, Atlanta ENT

 

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