Although there is no cure for allergies, there are some effective forms of treatment that can help manage and alleviate symptoms. It can be difficult to decipher which treatment options are truly effective and which ones are simply myths. When you discover common allergy myths, you can avoid them and seek out more effective treatment options. Here are some of the most common allergy myths you hear every spring.
There Is No Effective Treatment For Spring Allergies
Many individuals mistakenly believe that there is no effective treatment for spring allergies. Depending on the severity of your allergies, there are a variety of treatment options that can offer symptom relief ranging from mild improvement to a complete absence of symptoms.
Some people will find relief by taking simple steps such as staying indoors during high pollen counts or using over-the-counter nasal sprays and decongestants, while other individuals may have to seek out more advanced allergy relief from treatments such as prescription medications and allergy shots.
Over-The-Counter Medications Are Just As Effective As Prescription Medications
When evaluating the potential effectiveness of over-the-counter (OTC) medications as compared to prescription medications, prescription medications score higher because they contain an abundance of higher strength ingredients. Prescription strength oral antihistamines are more effective at relieving nasal congestion than those that are available without a prescription.
Consuming Local Honey Can Get Rid Of Allergies
Many people mistakenly believe that eating local, raw honey can help to reduce spring allergy symptoms. The belief is that by consuming local raw honey on a regular basis, the body will become immune to pollen. The theory is that when bees carry pollen, they absorb small amount of pollen from each flower, and that pollen gets into the honey that the bees produce. By eating the local honey, you introduce small amount of pollen into your body, which helps you build up a tolerance to that pollen. (Read more about the Health Benefits of Honey.)
Unfortunately, experts say that this theory is another spring allergy myth. Because honeybees transport pollen among large flowers, the pollen that comes from those large flowers is not the same kind of pollen that gets into the air. While consuming local raw honey can be beneficial to your health, it is not likely to offer any relief from spring allergies.
OTC Decongestant Nasal Sprays Are Addictive
Many people rely on OTC decongestant nasal sprays to find relief from the nasal congestion and inflammation that develops with spring allergies. Those who rely on these sprays may have heard the warning that these sprays can become addictive. Health care professionals state that this is not the case. While OTC decongestant nasal sprays are not addictive, it is entirely possible that over time, individuals who overuse these sprays can become dependent on them to find allergy relief.
Pollen Allergies Are Not Related To Food Allergies
While spring pollen allergies are not directly related to food allergies, there is some correlation between spring pollen allergies and the development of food allergies. Individuals who suffer from pollen allergies may go on to develop some type of food allergy. This is believed to be a result of certain foods containing a small amount of pollen. Another reason may be that some foods contain the same kind of proteins as the proteins that are found in pollen.
Blood Tests Can Diagnose Spring Allergies More Accurately Than Skin Tests
Blood tests are accurate at diagnosing many medical conditions; however, in many cases, spring allergy is not one of them. Although blood tests may be able to detect other types of allergies, individuals who suffer from seasonal allergies would fare better with allergy skin testing. Skin testing has been shown to be more effective at detecting spring allergies than other detection methods.
Allergy Shots Are Too Expensive
Some people choose not to receive allergy shots because they have heard that they are very expensive. Depending on your insurance plan, allergy shots may be partially or completely covered with little to no out of pocket cost to you. Individuals who suffer from severe seasonal allergies may only be able to find relief from allergy shots. This is because allergy shots, or allergy immunotherapy, are the only form of treatment that actually alters the immune response to the allergen. The effects of allergy shots can last for a long time, and since the goal is to eradicate allergies completely over time, allergy shots can be less costly in the long run than having to rely on allergy medication all season.
You Can Decrease The Severity Of Your Allergy Symptoms By Staying Indoors
Although this technique may work for some people who only suffer from very mild spring allergies, for the most part, it is an ineffective treatment method. This is because allergens are everywhere and are not found only outdoors. Allergens such as pollen and ragweed can find their way into your home via open windows, doors and air vents. In addition, every time you come in from outside, you will have some amount of allergen on your shoes, clothes, in your hair, etc. There is no way to avoid this, and the allergens will escape into the air inside your home. While it can be helpful to minimize the time you spend outside during allergy season, it is generally not effective enough to provide complete symptom relief. (If you're looking to minimize allergens within your home, read 10 Tips To Make Your Home Allergy-Proof.)
You Don’t Need Medication When You Aren’t Showing Allergy Symptoms
A big mistake made by many spring allergy sufferers is to only take their allergy medication on days when they are exhibiting allergy symptoms. If you wait until you are experiencing symptoms, you will have to suffer through those symptoms for some time while you wait for the effects of the medication to kick in. Additionally, the fewer symptoms you are experiencing when you take the medication, the more effective that medication may be. Allergy medications are the most effective when they remain in the body regularly throughout the spring allergy season.
Hay Fever Is An Allergic Reaction To Hay
This spring allergy myth is an oldie, but goodie. People often get confused by the multiple names attributed to allergic reactions that pop up in the spring. Allergic rhinitis, which is also commonly referred to as spring allergies or hay fever, is caused by pollen, not hay.
Identifying common spring allergy myths will allow you to effectively manage your symptoms. Allergy sufferers who do not find relief from simple treatment options should consider more aggressive allergy treatments. Contact your health care provider if you have severe allergies that do not improve with home care remedies.