5 Common Allergy Myths

More than 50 million Americans suffer from allergies each year. But as common as allergies are, they are frequently misunderstood. No matter what you’re allergic to, it’s important to know the facts so that you can effectively get relief.

Myth #1 – Allergies can’t be cured.

According to Dr. Z, the biggest misconception people have is that they just have to suffer with their allergies, year in and year out. “There are ways to turn it off that are really easy,” he says. “There’s desensitization that people don’t realize can really make a difference in feeling better and have long-lasting benefits.” As a functional allergist, Dr. Z looks to treat the root cause of the allergy to defeat the symptoms. Because an allergy is an expression of a breakdown in the body’s immune tolerance, the first step is to reduce the stress and inflammation that’s causing the allergic response. The healing process starts with eating the right foods to create a healthy microbiome in your gut.

Myth #2 – You can’t tell colds and allergies apart.

Colds and allergies may share some similar symptoms such as runny nose and congestion, but they have different causes. The common cold is caused by viruses, whereas seasonal allergies occur when the immune system overreacts to an allergen. Colds usually last for 7-10 days while allergy symptoms typically last for many weeks or even months. Other cold symptoms, such as body aches and fever, are not associated with allergies, and the itchy, watery eyes common to an allergic reaction rarely occur with a cold.

Myth #3 Short-haired pets don’t trigger allergies.

People often think that it’s the fur or hair from their pet that causes an allergic reaction. But the actual culprit is dander, which can be on the animal’s skin and in their saliva and urine. It’s true that people may be less sensitive to certain animal breeds, but there is no truly hypoallergenic pet. If your pet allergy is not severe, here are some things you can do to reduce your risk of having an allergic reaction:

  • Limit contact with your pet 
  • Wash your hands after touching your pet
  • Use an air cleaner with a HEPA filter 
  • Vacuum floors and furniture regularly
  • Bathe your pet at least once a week to help reduce dander

Myth #4 – Food allergies always develop in childhood; and each allergic reaction to food becomes increasingly worse.

The truth is that you can develop a food allergy at any age, even if it’s a food you’ve safely eaten before. According to Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE), children with food allergies can outgrow the allergy over time, particularly with allergies to milk, egg, soy, and wheat. Allergies that are harder to outgrow include peanut, tree nuts, fish, and shellfish. The severity of a reaction can be mild or severe based on a number of factors, including the amount of food ingested.

Myth #5 – Black bathroom mold is toxic.

While some people are allergic to certain kinds of mold that releases airborne spores, the black mold that can appear in bathroom tubs and showers is so sticky it can’t travel in the air and therefore doesn’t enter the lungs or respiratory tract. If you have black mold in your home, use a diluted bleach solution to scrub it away. 

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