Myths about Allergies

Myth #1: Some dog breeds, such as Chihuahuas, are better for people with asthma and allergies.

Reality: The protein found in the pet's saliva, dander and urine is what causes allergies, not the pet's hair. There is not one breed that is better for people with allergies and asthma.

Myth #2: Inhaled medications are dangerous.

Reality: Inhaled medications that treat inflammation are the safest and most effective means to treat asthma. It is usually more dangerous NOT to use inhaled asthma controller medications if they have been prescribed for you.

Myth #3: Children outgrow asthma and allergies.

Reality: Asthma is a constant state of airway irritability and not something that can be outgrown. Some children do have asthma symptoms that clear during the teenage years (while others may worsen) but they will always have airway irritability. The same holds true with allergies – you may keep your symptoms under control with medications, but you will never outgrow them

Myth #4: Asthma and allergies can be cured.

Reality: There is no cure for asthma or allergies However, with proper care, asthmatics can lead normal, active lives. Allergy shots are the closest treatments we have to a cure for allergies. Shots may dramatically reduce symptoms and the need for medications.

Myth #5: Alternative holistic medications are equally as effective as prescribed medications.

Reality: Alternative holistic medications, such as bee pollen or allergy "drops," should never replace proven medical treatments for asthma and allergies. Bee pollen usually contains bee body parts, which may cause an allergic reaction. There is no evidence that shows using bee pollen has any benefit to the allergic patient.

Myth #6: Moving to a southwestern state will cure asthma and allergies.

Reality: Moving to a southwestern state may help allergies for a few months. However, new allergies to local plants in the new area can develop within a short period of time. There is no safe place to move away from asthma and allergies.

Myth #7 Allergies are a harmless problem.

Reality: Allergies are a serious problem and should be treated as such. If left untreated, allergies can lead to sleep and learning disorders. These symptoms, in turn, can lead to missed school and work. Untreated allergies can also cause more severe problems, such as sinus infections or skin disorders. They can also worsen asthma symptoms. Allergies to foods, drugs or insect stings can even lead to life threatening reactions.

Myth #8: Hay fever is caused by hay.

Reality: The term "hay fever" is misleading because it is not caused only by hay, nor is it a fever. Today, the term is used to describe nasal congestion, coughing, runny nose, sneezing, shortness of breath and other symptoms caused by any plants that produce pollen or molds that produce spores – usually in the late spring, summer or fall.

Myth #9: Pollen from flowers is the leading cause of allergies.

Reality: Although it may seem strange, flowers are least likely to trigger allergic symptoms. Pollens from roses and many other fragrant, colorful flowers tend to be heavy, waxy and sticky, making them less likely to be airborne. Allergies to these kinds of plants are very uncommon.

Myth#10: Allergies are "all in your head."

Reality: Allergies may affect your nose, but that doesn't mean that they are "all in your head." An allergy is a real medical condition involving your immune system's reaction to something unknown. Allergies are hereditary so you can pass the tendency to develop allergies to your children. You can't however, pass allergies along to others like a common cold because they are not contagious.

Myth#11: 'Local' Honey Can Reduce Allergies

Reality: The theory that eating local honey helps is mainly anecdotal and hasn't been sufficiently verified by research. Believers hope that the pollen content in raw honey will inoculate them against allergic rhinitis. But few controlled studies have addressed this theory. Besides, unlike carefully controlled allergy shots, pollens found in honey may not include the ones that affect you.

Myth#12: There's No Pollen at the Beach

Reality: Compared to other regions, beaches can be nice vacation spots for allergy sufferers. Beaches generally have lower pollen counts. However, grasses are common near beaches, and ragweed pollen can be found as far as 400 miles out to sea. Also, even a short drive or walk away from the sand will expose you to the region's pollen-emitting plant life.