Top Ten Fall Allergy Myths

Local doc debunks popular myths about what has you sneezing

By Pat Lawson Muse
|  Thursday, Oct 21, 2010  |  Updated 4:18 PM EDT
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<a title=Dr. Jackie Eghrari-Sabet of Family Allergy & Asthma Care in Gaithersburg, Md., tackles myths about allergies." />

Dr. Jackie Eghrari-Sabet, Pat Lawson Muse

Dr. Jackie Eghrari-Sabet of Family Allergy & Asthma Care in Gaithersburg, Md., tackles myths about allergies.

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With fall settling in, there’s a whole lot of sneezing and wheezing going on in the Washington area. There’s also a lot of misinformation.

 So grab a tissue and check out these popular allergy myths debunked by Dr. Jackie Eghrari-Sabet, of Family Asthma & Allergy Care in Gaithersburg, Md.

Myth #10: Because I’m allergic to something, my kids will be, too. Not true. Your kids may be predisposed to be allergic to something because you have the genetics of it, but allergies don’t tend to run in families. You can develop allergies even if your parents don’t have them.

Myth #9: Allergies and asthma are completely unrelated. In fact they’re completely the same. It’s one big airway whether you get the allergy up your nose or the asthma down in your lungs. Allergies are the key asthma trigger this time of year. So when the pollen counts go up, so do the asthma attacks.

Myth #8: I should save my prescription meds for the days I’m suffering most. This would be like saving your toothpaste just for when you really need it. You “can” use your antihistamines as needed, but use your prescribed nasal steroid sprays and maintenance meds “daily” just as your doctor prescribes.

Myth #7: Allergies can’t be cured. Not so. That’s what allergy shots aim to do. They target the cause, using small increasing amounts of what you’re allergic to in an injection so you build up a tolerance.

Myth #6: You can outgrow your allergies. Most people grow “into” not “out of" their allergies. Some folks can become less sensitive to their allergens simply by avoiding them, but that’s practically impossible for most to do.

Myth #5: Flower pollen is a leading cause of allergies. No, it isn’t the heavy pollens produced by flowers that set you off, unless you put your face in your rose bushes. It’s the light pollens (from the trees, grasses and weeds) blowing in the wind that cause your itching eyes, runny nose and sneezing.

Myth #4: Eating local honey will prevent allergies. Wrong again! Bees pick up the heavy pollens from flowers and turn them into honey. Since the heavy pollens don’t blow in the wind, you don’t generally come into contact with them.

Myth #3: Short-haired pets don’t cause allergies. Both short hair and long hair can set you off. Also keep in mind the real culprit is a protein produced by glands in your pet’s skin or saliva. Since cats do more licking, they cause more symptoms. During colder weather, keeping your pet shampooed will help.

Myth #2: Hay fever is caused by hay. We know this one isn’t true, don’t we? (And we know it's not a fever, either.)

Myth #1: Washington, D.C., is a great place to move to if you have allergies. OK, it's not really a myth. D.C. residents know too well this is false. Built on a swamp, all kinds of things grow in the D.C. area, resulting in all kinds of allergies.

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