Contributed by – Preksha Buttan
There are as many allergy myths as there are its types. Though science has proven them wrong, they, unfortunately, still do rounds on the internet. To stop the spread of this misleading information, there is a need to separate those myths from the facts. Below we have listed some most popular allergy myths that you must have heard somewhere. Let’s see what science has to say about them.
Common allergy myths and their facts
Myth 1 – Allergies are harmless.
Fact – Allergies can be harmful. Though they may range from mild to severe, they affect the quality of life. For example, rhinitis results in poor sleep quality and fatigue. If left untreated, allergies can also worsen an existing chronic respiratory issue like asthma. In fact, in some cases, there are chances of having a life-threatening reaction. So, don’t make the mistake of ignoring your allergies.
Myth 2 – Moving to a different region can cure allergies.
Fact – Allergens exist everywhere. You might get temporary relief if you move away from the source of allergen, but you’ll always be at the risk of developing new ones. Remember that pollen can travel great distances, pet dander and cockroaches can exist anywhere in the world and regional plants pollinate year-round. So, relocating will probably not help you much.
Myth 3 – Allergies can be treated.
Fact – Unfortunately, we do not have any cure for allergies yet. But you can make efforts to manage them. No matter what type of allergy you have — seasonal, persistent, or food allergies — always try to avoid exposure to anything that might cause a flare-up. Besides, you can find medications that can reduce your symptoms. Allergy shots can also reduce the sensitivity to certain triggers.
[Also read: 11 Best Allergy Fighting Foods]
Myth 4 – Allergies are just for kids.
Fact – Anyone can develop allergies at any point in their life. In fact, research shows that almost half of those with food allergies developed it in their adulthood. Though most people who develop adult-onset allergies do so in their 20s and 30s, it will not be unusual for you to develop them at a later stage.
Myth 5 – Allergy medication should only be taken after you have allergy symptoms.
Fact – Allergy medications can actually prevent allergic reactions if taken before symptoms develop. But, sometimes you may not even know what type of allergy you have and how to prevent it. So, the best thing to do to save yourself from the misery is to get an allergy test done. The test will help you understand your needs and accordingly, you can start your treatment before the start of the allergy season.
Myth 6 – Short-haired pets are fine for people with pet allergies.
Fact – The truth is, pet hair and fur are not allergens. The real culprit is dander — the skin and body proteins found in the animal’s urine, skin, and saliva. These white flakes are present regardless of the length of your pet’s hair. So, if you are allergic to pets, the best way to manage your allergies is by finding a new home for them.
[Also read: Is it a cold or an allergy?]
Myth 7 – An allergy is an extreme form of intolerance.
Fact – Allergy and intolerance are completely different. When you have allergies and get in contact with what triggers a reaction, your immune system forms antibodies in the bloodstream and body tissues. These antibodies can be detected with blood tests. On the other hand, when you are intolerant to some food, there’s no involvement of the immune system. Usually, a small amount of problem food is tolerable but allergy triggers have to be completely avoided.
Don’t let wrong and misleading information about allergies keep you or your loved ones away from getting the right treatment. Since these allergies have the potential of changing the way you live your life, and, sometimes, threaten your life, it’s wise to stay a step ahead and get the allergy test done. This test will help you understand your condition so that you can plan your treatment with the help of a doctor. So, without any delay, get tested now!
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