7 Common Allergy Myths, Busted
You can run, but you can’t hide
Environmental allergies are the worst. You feel awful, sound awful and (honestly) probably look awful. But at this point, we’ve pretty much accepted that allergies are a fact of life. There are a few things, though, that even we didn’t know about our body’s reactions. Here, seven allergy myths debunked.
Myth: Allergies are psychosomatic
Sorry naysayers, allergies are real and rooted in heredity and the environment, though they can be worsened by you thinking they're worse. According to Dr. Andrew Weil in Discovery Health, “Allergy straddles the mind-body border,” and “emotional stress can precipitate allergic reactions.” Here, we’ll explain…
Myth: Medication is the only way to reduce allergy symptoms
As we just learned, stress can contribute to more intense allergic reactions. The higher your perceived stress levels, the worse your symptoms. To minimize stress, get enough sleep, exercise and eat a healthy diet. And maybe stop worrying so much.
Myth: When you’re allergic to an animal, you’re allergic to its hair
You might think that adopting a hairless cat will be the solution to your health problems, but that might not be the case. When people are allergic to pets, the cause is actually a protein found in the animal’s skin that becomes airborne when flakes of skin, or dander, are released. When dander becomes airborne, that's when you'll notice yourself sneezing and rubbing your eyes. Also interesting, dogs are half as likely to cause an allergic reaction as cats are.
Myth: Natural and organic foods are non-allergenic
Not the case. In fact, some of the most allergenic foods are natural and unprocessed, like eggs, shellfish and tree nuts. While organic food doesn’t have the harmful pesticides, allergic reactions are often caused by naturally occurring proteins that are basically unavoidable.
Myth: If you’re an adult and have never had allergies, you’re in the clear
Hate to break it to you, but allergies can strike at any age. Since allergies are partially hereditary, you may have had the potential for a reaction your whole life but something like a change in environment could trigger a reaction for the first time. Also, now that we're increasingly more educated, many people are realizing that those earlier bouts of stuffy noses and flu-like symptoms were, in fact, just allergies all along.
Myth: If you stay inside on high pollen days, you’ll be fine
Unfortunately, there’s more to it. Even if your doors and windows are closed, allergens can still make their way into your house on clothes or even your skin from previous days out. Remember to vacuum regularly and change the filter on your air conditioner to minimize the entrance of allergens into your home.
Myth: Moving to a drier area can eliminate symptoms
Before you up and move to Tucson, know that allergies can act up no matter where you are. That’s because there are different triggers everywhere, so while the pollen in New York might be affecting you now, chances are you’ll develop allergies to local plants no matter where you move. On the bright side, you won't have to wait for an A train that never comes in Arizona.