If you experience sneezing, coughing, and watery eyes during the spring or fall, then you may have allergic rhinitis, more commonly known as seasonal allergies or “hay fever.” Many misconceptions surround seasonal allergies, so read these five common myths to better understand this common condition.
Myth #1: Moving to a new location gets rid of allergies.
You have probably heard this at least once, but it is not true.
Tree pollen, grass pollen, weed pollen, and mold trigger seasonal allergies and these exist everywhere in the country. Attempting to escape seasonal allergies in Little Rock by moving to the Arizona desert for example just means you may react to new grasses and weeds and experience the exact same set of problems.
Moving is not likely to lower your risk of allergies. You would be better off speaking to a specialist at your local asthma and allergy clinic about treatment options than uprooting your life in Little Rock.
Myth #2: Eating local honey will ease allergy symptoms.
This sounds good, but it too is false. Consuming local honey does not actually help ward off your allergies.
The concept behind the honey theory is similar to that of immunotherapy. Local honey contains local pollen, and consuming it gradually exposes your body to the allergen, thus helping build your immunity. Although honey does indeed contain local pollen, it is usually not from the types of plants to which people are allergic, meaning you are simply left with a tasty placebo.
Allergy triggers include trees, grasses, and ragweed, and bees often retrieve their pollen from flowers, which are not what usually trigger seasonal allergies.
Immunotherapy (such as allergy shots) takes a much more targeted approach. Allergists expose you to the specific allergens that trigger your allergic reaction, and gradually increase your exposure to reduce your reaction to it. Contact our asthma and allergy clinic in Little Rock for more information about allergy shots.
Myth #3: You cannot develop allergies if you did not have them as a child.
Allergies come and go. If you experienced allergies as a child, then there is a small possibility you could outgrow it in adulthood. Likewise, you could potentially develop seasonal allergies as an adult when you have never had them growing up.
If you move to a new location, for example, then you may be exposed to new allergens and develop allergies, and adult-onset allergies can occur at any age. Here your body is exposed to something like pollen or mold, and your body thinks it is harmful. The body then releases chemicals like histamines that create allergy symptoms like a runny nose, itchy eyes, and coughing.
New allergy sufferers may benefit from over-the-counter allergy medications and trigger avoidance, but if those do not provide relief, then you should visit an allergy clinic. Allergists may be able to provide allergen immunotherapy, various medication options, and provide valuable information about how to live with allergies.
Myth #4: Only take allergy medicine when you have symptoms.
Some allergy medicines work by stopping your immune system from producing chemicals that create allergy symptoms. They help reduce inflammation and can actually work better over long periods of time. Beginning allergy medication about two weeks before allergy season starts is one way to fight the coming pollen storm.
You should also learn your specific allergy triggers. You can do this by visiting an allergy clinic and getting tested. Once you know your triggers, you can plan your allergy medication schedule around when those pollens bloom.
In addition to pre-emptively taking allergy medications, you may also want to follow other precautions such as avoiding going outdoors when it is dry and windy and avoiding outdoor activities in the morning when the pollen count is highest. Avoid outdoor activities that can exacerbate allergic reactions such as mowing the lawn.
Myth #5: Flowers trigger allergies.
Most individuals do not have allergic reactions to flower pollens. Some people may react to flowering trees, but cut flowers are not usually responsible for this. An appointment with an Arkansas Allergy and Asthma Clinic can confirm your specific allergen triggers.
Although the pollen count does not suggest how you will feel on a particular day, it can be useful for telling you the prominent pollens in the air. By keeping note of the pollen counts, you can better understand what days are better for outdoor activity.
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Contact Arkansas Allergy and Asthma Clinic to schedule an appointment with a doctor for seasonal allergy relief today.