7 Myths About Allergies That Might Surprise You

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1.  MYTH:  Mold allergies can’t affect you if you stay away from “moldy” places like basements, cellars and other dark, damp places.

Mold spores are carried by the wind.  People who are allergic to mold suffer most in the summer and early fall with seasonal allergies.   In warm climates, they thrive year round.   Walking through tall vegetation or even cutting the grass can set off mold allergies.

2. MYTH:  Food intolerances and food allergies are the same thing.

Someone with a food intolerance is unable to digest and process the food due to a lack of a certain enzyme or enzymes.  A food allergy occurs when a person’s immune system generates an antibody response to the ingested food.

3.  MYTH:  Children usually outgrow food allergies.

Children are ten times more likely than adults to have food allergies–peanut allergies, wheat allergies, gluten allergies, etc.    Some researchers believe that as the gastrointenstinal system develops, it gets better at blocking the absorption of foods that trigger food allergies.  Over time, children usually outgrow allergies to cow’s milk, eggs, wheat and soybean products.  But allergies to peanuts, tree nuts, fish and shellfish can be lifelong.  And, too, some children outgrow one or two allergies, only to develop others.

4.  MYTH: People who suffer from cat or dog allergy symptoms are allergic to their fur.

Ten to 15% of the population suffers from cat and dog allergy symptoms.  The allergen is a specific protein produced not in the animal’s fur, but mostly in its skin, and to a lesser extent, in its urine and saliva.   When the animal is petted or brushed, or even as it rubs against people or furniture, microscopic flakes of skin called dander become airborne.  All cats and dogs have skin, and so there are no non-allergic breeds.   However, short-haired pets have less hair to shed and send less dander into the air, making them preferable pets for people with allergies.  Dogs are half as likely to cause allergic reactions as cats.

5.   MYTH:  Moving to the Southwestern states will cure allergies.

There is no safe place beyond allergy symptoms.  Desert regions have no ragweed, but they do have plenty of other plants that produce pollen including sagebrush, cottonwood, ash and olive trees.  Relocating may help for the initial first months, but a new group of allergies to local plants will most likely develop after that.

6.  MYTH:  Eating raw local honey will help prevent and alleviate allergy and allergy asthma symptoms, as it builds up a tolerance to the area’s pollens.

A University of Connecticut 2002 study showed that local and nationally produced honey did not relieve or prevent symptoms better than a placebo.  Most studies have shown it not be effective as an allergy treatment  or in preventing allergy symptoms.

7.  MYTH:  Foods that contain omega-3 fatty acids such as fish, almonds and flax seeds are worthless against seasonal allergies and allergy symptoms in general.

A study from the State University of New York at Stony Brook, as well as other studies, found that foods containing omega-3 fatty acids may help decrease respiratory symptoms by lessening inflammation.


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One comment

  1. Any chance of getting specific citations of the studies mentioned in this article? I’d love to check them out for additional details.

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