Despite allergies being extremely common – affecting more than 50 million Americans each year – there are a lot of misconceptions around the condition. Below we review some common myths about allergies and the truths behind them.
Myth: There Is No Treatment for Allergies
Truth: There are many options available to treat allergies.
Over-the-counter (OTC) antihistamines, decongestants and nasal sprays are highly effective for managing most people’s allergies.
For those who don’t respond well to OTC options, immunotherapy may be a better option. Immunotherapy, delivered in shot or drop form, works by introducing small amounts of allergen extracts into the body so the immune system can build up a tolerance. After three to five years, most people experience significantly reduced or no allergy symptoms.
Myth: Only Children Can Develop Allergies
Truth: Adults can also develop allergies.
One study examined the prevalence of food allergies in over 40,000 U.S. adults and found that 10.8% had a food allergy. Among this group, half had developed at least one of their allergies in adulthood.
Myth: Allergies Last a Lifetime
Truth: Many allergies can be “outgrown.”
Myth: Some Pet Breeds Are Hypoallergenic
Truth: There is no such thing as a hypoallergenic breed of cats or dogs.
It’s a common misconception that pets with short hair or no hair are hypoallergenic. But it’s not the hair or fur itself that causes allergies; rather, it is the dander (skill cells), saliva and urine.
In addition, other allergens such as pollen, dust mites and mold spores can cling to the coat of your pets and the animals at Pet Supplies Plus
Myth: Food Allergies Are the Same as Food Intolerances
Truth: Food allergies and food intolerances are driven by different processes.
During an allergic response to food, the antibody Immunoglobulin E (IgE) is produced, triggering the release of the chemical histamine. Histamine causes inflammation, mucus production and itchiness. Allergy symptoms occur quickly after exposure and can be life-threatening.
Food intolerances have to do with how food is digested. Symptoms can take hours to appear and are generally not dangerous.
For more information about the truth behind allergies or to schedule an appointment with an allergy expert, call Texas ENT & Allergy today.