9 Misconceptions About Allergies

9 Misconceptions About Allergies

9 Misconceptions About Allergies
  1. You are either born with them or you aren’t.  Maybe that was true back in our grandparent’s day but these days you can have not one single allergy for 20 years and then BAM!  Bring on the Claritin!
  2. Your allergies will go away if you just constantly expose yourself to what you are allergic to.  This might be true for some, but let me tell you from experience, it isn’t true for everyone.  This was the mindset my mother had as I was growing up, so we had dogs my entire childhood.  Never did I outgrow that allergy and instead had years and years snotty, boogery, wheezy misery.
  3. Allergies aren’t that big of a deal!  So you sneeze a little bit or you have to rub your eyes once in a while!  This was obviously said by someone who has no allergies whatsoever.  When your body sees an allergen and your immune system is in attack mode, it releases histamine.  Histamine causes a drop in blood pressure, it causes swelling and irritation in the eyes, nose and throat (and lungs for asthmatics).  I have had allergy sore throats that felt just as bad a strep and eyes that itched and hurt so badly, I literally wanted to gouge them from my head.
  4. If you are allergic to dogs, get a hypo-allergenic dog.  This does work for some people and I am so glad for them, however, this is not a guarantee.  People who are allergic to dogs aren’t actually allergic to the dog’s fur.  They are allergic to the dead skin from the dog that flakes off and attaches to the fur.  The good and bad fact is, even hypo-allergenic dogs still have skin.
  5. Allergies are only a spring and/or fall issue.  How I wish that were true (sighs a dreamy sigh).  There is potential to be allergic to something year round.  Spring and fall are obvious, but winter is really hard on dust allergies and summer is awful for mold spores.
  6. I don’t want to take allergy medicine because it will make me sleepy.  Hallelujah, this is no longer true!  When I was a kid, the only medicine for allergies was Benedryl.  Since I had indoor and outdoor allergies, I was a walking zombie much of the time.  Thankfully, there is a new generation of antihistamines that do not cause drowsiness, can be taken every day and are safe for children.  Happy dance!!!
  7. With food allergies, it is fine for the allergic person to have a little of what they are allergic to.  This is a disastrous mindset.  For some reason, the body reacts much more severely to food allergies than it does to air-borne allergens.  There is no rhyme or reason to them either.  You be fine eating almonds one day and the next day, your lips swell and you break out in hives.  And don’t assume this was a fluke.  If you react to a food or think you do, go get allergy tested and get a prescription for an epi-pen.  Chances are, the next reaction will be worse. Also, there is no preventative medicine for food allergies (ie:  Claritin).
  8. People only have food allergies to things like strawberries, shellfish and peanuts.  Not true!  You can have an IgE reaction to any food.  There are some that are more common, called the Top 8: Milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, soy and wheat.  But it can honestly be anything.  Apples.  Avacados. Chicken.  I even know someone who is anaphylactic to watermelon.
  9. Your child will most likely outgrow their allergies.  Sometimes this can happen, but it is not the most common outcome.  A hyper-sensitive immune system rarely just decides to chill out on its own.  It is more likely to either continue being allergic to that special something forever and ever amen OR their immune system will decide it is bored of reacting to that thing and turn on something else instead.

Hope that helps and may your springtime be filled with lotion-filled tissues and truck loads of Visine.  Happy spring!

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