Fact or Fiction, Debunking Five Common Allergy Myths
With allergy season arriving on the heals of spring, a lot of misinformation about allergens gets passed around like a box of tissues on a high pollen count day. Knowing the difference between allergy fact and fiction can help you and your family avoid a run of puffy eyes and runny noses this spring season. With that in mind, here are some common allergy myths.
Head West Young Man
While on the surface, the idea that moving to the desert can help you escape seasonal allergies does seem to make some sense. After all, the desert has fewer plants, which means less pollen, and less wishing on your part that you could live in a allergen free bubble. However, moving to the desert only provides a limited amount of relief. While many plants found in the Midwest and east coast are rare in the deserts of the western and southwestern United States, the main causes of allergy attacks, grass and ragweed pollen, are found everywhere. Additionally, you might find that by moving to the desert you escape some familiar allergens only to find new ones you haven’t yet identified.
A Bouquet of Sneezes
Many people assume that just because they are allergic to the pollen that flowers produce, they will suffer an allergy outbreak just by getting close to a bundle of beautiful blossoms. Again, most allergy attacks come from the pollen produced from trees, weeds, grasses, and only some types of flowers. However, the pollen that causes your eyes to start watering is picked up and carried through the air by the warm springtime breeze. Flowers that are cut pose little risk of causing an allergy attack unless you plan on sticking your nose in the bud and breathing deep.
While the beach can be an excellent refuge for allergy suffers seeking asylum, the belief that the sandy shores of the beach contain no pollen is another allergen myth. A variety of grasses grow near the beach, and it’s possible to still locate ragweed pollen up to 400 miles out to sea. As if the thought that even international waters can’t provide escape from ragweed pollen wasn’t bad enough, keep in mind that as soon as you leave the beach you expose yourself to any pollen producing plant life nearby.
Age may bring wisdom, but unfortunately it does not bring allergy relief. The idea that a child can outgrow their allergies is largely untrue. While some allergies can be outgrown, hay fever, for example, almost never goes away. A recent study conducted in Sweden that tracked 82 allergy patients found that 99 percent still suffered from allergic rhinitis (a fancy term for allergy symptoms caused by hay fever) 12 years after the study first began. On the bright side, 39 percent did report some improvement in the severity of their allergy attacks.
Perhaps the biggest myth of all is that hay fever actually comes from hay. In addition to mold spores, the cause of allergic rhinitis comes from weeds, trees, and grass pollens, all of which are found in high quantities in rural areas. So while it might seem natural to blame that stuff horses eat, the true cause of allergy attacks turns out to be everything around the bale of hay.
A freelance writer, Timothy Lemke writes about health for the blog of Dr. Sarah Barber, a Vancouver WA dentist at Smiles Dental.