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Seasonal allergies: Myths vs. facts

2024-04-18T19:06:02+00:00
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Allergy myths vs. facts (Photo: Shutterstock)
  • Don’t fall for these allergy myths.
  • Seasonal allergies can be managed.
  • Know the facts!

Seasonal allergies affect millions of people each year, causing symptoms like sneezing, runny nose and itchy eyes.

Despite their prevalence, there are many misconceptions about what causes these allergies and how best to treat them.

Armed with the right knowledge, you can minimize discomfort and enjoy all the seasons with fewer interruptions.

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Understanding seasonal allergies

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Seasonal allergies, often referred to as hay fever, are typically triggered by pollen from trees, grasses and weeds.

This allergic reaction occurs when the immune system mistakenly identifies pollen as a harmful substance and releases histamines to combat it.

The release of histamines leads to the symptoms many suffer from during allergy season.

It’s a common myth that only spring and summer bring high levels of pollen, but in reality, different plants release pollen at various times throughout the year, affecting allergy sufferers in all seasons.

Allergy myths: Moving to a different climate can cure allergies

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A common misconception is that relocating to a different climate can permanently cure seasonal allergies.

While certain areas have lower pollen counts, which might temporarily ease symptoms, you can develop new allergies.

Moreover, allergens like dust mites, mold and pet dander are ubiquitous and can cause symptoms similar to pollen allergies.

Therefore, moving is not a foolproof solution and might just change the allergens you react to rather than eliminate allergic reactions altogether.

Fact: Rain washes away pollen

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It is true that rain can help alleviate allergy symptoms by washing pollen out of the air.

After a good rainstorm, the air is typically clearer, which can provide temporary relief to those suffering from pollen allergies.

However, this effect is usually short-lived, as pollen counts can quickly return to high levels once the weather clears and plants resume their pollen release.

People with allergies should take advantage of rainy days to ventilate their homes and enjoy the outdoors, as pollen levels are at their lowest immediately following rainfall.

Allergy myths: Flowers are major allergy triggers

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Many people believe that flowering plants are the primary culprits behind their allergy symptoms.

However, most seasonal allergies are actually triggered by wind-pollinated plants, which have pollen that is light and easily airborne.

Flowers typically have heavier, sticky pollen that is spread by insects rather than by the wind, making them less likely to provoke allergies.

Therefore, unless you’re directly handling flowers or have a specific sensitivity, they are unlikely to be a major source of your allergy symptoms.

Fact? Local honey can help alleviate allergies

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There is some truth to the belief that consuming local honey can help reduce allergy symptoms.

The idea is that local honey contains trace amounts of local pollen, which can potentially desensitize your immune system to these allergens over time.

However, scientific evidence supporting this claim is mixed, and any benefits are likely to be very mild.

Those looking for more effective relief should consider proven methods such as antihistamines, nasal sprays, and allergy shots.

Myth: Allergy medications should be taken only when symptoms appear

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Many believe that allergy medications, like antihistamines, should be taken only once symptoms appear.

However, for best results, these medications should be taken regularly throughout the allergy season.

Starting a regimen before symptoms start can help keep the immune system from reacting as strongly to allergens, leading to less severe symptoms.

It’s a proactive approach that can significantly improve quality of life for allergy sufferers.

Lifestyle adjustments for managing allergies

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Besides medication, making small lifestyle adjustments can significantly impact how you manage seasonal allergies.

Keeping windows closed during high pollen days, using air purifiers at home, and showering before bed to remove pollen from hair and skin can all reduce exposure and symptoms.

Wearing sunglasses and hats while outside can also help keep pollen away from your face and eyes.

By combining these strategies with proper medication, most people can manage their allergy symptoms effectively and minimize their impact on daily life.

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