Popular Myths About Seasonal Allergies

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Misconceptions Behind Hay Fever

Misconceptions Behind Hay Fever

You can’t outgrow your allergies
Popular Myths About Seasonal Allergies

Photo 117955925 © Diego Vito Cervo - Dreamstime.com

If you suffer from seasonal allergies, that could mean you experience itchy and watery eyes, nasal congestion, sore throat and many more uncomfortable symptoms. Considering some of the most common triggers for an allergic reaction come from pollen or dust from trees, grasses and weeds, allergies may cause you to skip doing things like seeing beautiful cherry blossoms bloom when spring arrives.

In most of America, spring allergies tend to roll in around February and can last until early summer and are relatively common, but there are some things about seasonal allergies that can be considered myths.

Hay fever is caused by hay

Hay fever is caused by hay

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Despite the name, hay fever isn’t caused by hay and doesn’t mean a person is necessarily allergic to hay. Hay fever is also known as allergic rhinitis, which is caused by an allergic response to outdoor or indoor allergens, such as pollen, dust mites and more. It is believed that the term hay fever was first mentioned in a British medical journal by John Bostock in 1819, in which he describes his symptoms of itchy eyes and difficulty breathing as a kind of summer cold. Allergies don’t normally cause fevers, but if you are experiencing fevers, you should have these essentials at home to treat your symptoms.

A blood test is the best way to reveal all of your allergies

A blood test is the best way to reveal all of your allergies

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Blood tests are great to help doctors check for certain diseases and conditions, but many times doctors can’t diagnose medical problems with a blood test alone. If you’re trying to find the root of seasonal allergies, a skin test is more sensitive than a blood test. During a skin allergy test, you are pricked on the inside of your arm or back with a small amount of an allergen. If you’re allergic, your skin will become red and swollen within 20 minutes before returning to normal within an hour or two. However, a single test alone can’t always give the full picture, so it's best to visit an allergist or specialist for treatment. If you’re not sure about your results from a blood test, be sure to always ask your doctor questions.

You should only start medication when symptoms begin to show

You should only start medication when symptoms begin to show

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As allergy season kicks in, if you’re worried about suffering from annoying symptoms, the best time to take medicine is before the symptoms even show up. Pretreating your symptoms can help better control or prevent them. Some medications such as corticosteroid nasal sprays can take a few weeks to become fully effective, so taking them beforehand can prevent your body from having an unnecessary fight against pollen. Make sure you don’t confuse your symptoms with early signs of a cold.

Flowers are the leading cause of seasonal allergies

Flowers are the leading cause of seasonal allergies

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If you’re a spring allergy sufferer, you may want to be careful when visiting the best botanical gardens in America. However, not all flowers can cause an allergic reaction or hay fever. Certain flowers such as roses tend to have heavy and waxy pollen, which makes it more difficult for it to be airborne. People mostly experience allergic reactions from small, light and dry pollen that gets carried by the wind from trees, weeds and grasses.

You can outgrow your allergies

You can outgrow your allergies

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You can’t necessarily outgrow your allergies but in some cases, exposure to an allergen causes the body to develop antibodies. You may not experience obvious symptoms over time, but you also didn’t necessarily outgrow them. That is why some people can have allergies as a child but not experience as many symptoms as they grow older. Sometimes allergy symptoms can go away and then come back years later. Here are some signs to recognize that your sniffles aren’t just a cold.

Allergies can be cured

Allergies can be cured

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There isn’t exactly a cure for seasonal allergies, but there are different treatments that can help reduce symptoms. Common remedies include decongestants, antihistamines and other types of medications. Allergy shots, also known as immunotherapy, work like a vaccine. The shot gradually exposes the body to a tiny bit of allergen to help build up a tolerance to it. The symptoms of seasonal allergies can be unbearable sometimes, but you can use this everyday household item to treat your cough.

Moving to a different region will decrease your seasonal allergies

Moving to a different region will decrease your seasonal allergies

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Though it may be nice to move to a gorgeous coastal town, it won’t help stop seasonal allergies. Some types of pollen that are airborne can travel far because of the wind. Pollen can be found up to 400 miles out to sea, so the ocean can’t stop you from experiencing itchy eyes or having the sniffles. You can also develop new allergies to certain plants in the area in a short period of time.

Honey can cure or prevent allergies

Honey can cure or prevent allergies

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When springtime comes around and the sneezing and scratchy throats begin, some may turn to honey in tea to help ease symptoms. While it may soothe in the moment, honey cannot cure or help prevent seasonal allergies. Local or raw honey does contain small amounts of pollen from flowers that are transferred by bees, but it is not the same pollen that most people have a reaction to. In most cases, allergies are triggered by airborne pollens from trees, grass or weeds. Eating honey will not help build immunity to fight off allergy symptoms.

You can’t have allergies during the winter

You can’t have allergies during the winter

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If you have severe seasonal allergies, you may already know to hold off on traveling for the spring. In many parts of the country, plants can pollinate early under mild winter temperatures. But there are also other common indoor allergens that are there all year round, such as dust mites and mold.

You can’t develop allergies if you didn’t have them as a child

You can’t develop allergies if you didn’t have them as a child

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One of the aging myths everyone needs to stop believing is that age doesn’t determine when someone can develop allergies. Though allergies are more common in childhood, symptoms of hay fever or any other types of allergies can develop at any time and age. More than 50 million Americans experience various types of allergies each year and 8.2% of adults were diagnosed with hay fever in 2015. Don’t fall for these common misconceptions about seasonal allergies as well as other cold and flu myths.

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