For some people, seasonal allergies are simply annoying. But many people suffer from seasonal allergies for many months, and these allergies affect other areas of their lives.
Allergies keep people from sleeping and can lead to other health conditions, like asthma, bronchitis, and sinus infections.
Seasonal allergies, which are often called hay fever, are allergic reactions to something that is only around for part of the year, such as a pollen allergy triggered by trees, weeds and grasses.
There are also allergies that are not seasonal and present year-round, such as pet dander and house dust mite allergies. And some are both seasonal and year round, like mold.
Here are 10 Myths and Facts about Allergies
MYTH #1: Moving to the desert will cure your allergies
FACT: Changing climates can affect how you react to allergens, which are substances that trigger your allergies – but only in a limited way. Some plants are rare in some areas, but grass and ragweed grow nearly everywhere. And if you move, you may start reacting to different allergens.
MYTH #2: Flowers Usually Trigger Allergies
FACT: Some florists who are exposed to flowers for long periods of time can have allergy symptoms. But very few people suffer allergic reactions from a bouquet of flowers. What most people react to is the pollen produced by trees, grasses, and weeds – and occasionally flowers - that's picked up by breezes and carried through the air.
MYTH #3: There's No Pollen at the Beach
FACT: Because beaches usually have less pollen than other regions, beaches can be a good vacation spot if you suffer from allergies. However, grasses are common near beaches, and ragweed pollen can be found as far as 400 miles out to sea. Even a short drive or walk away from the sand will expose you to the plant life with pollen in that region.
MYTH #4: There's No Way To Predict Bad Allergy Days
FACT: Pollen counts measure the grains of pollen in a specific amount of air over a specific amount of time. You can use pollen counts to help reduce how much you’re exposed to pollen. The National Allergy Bureau provides accurate pollen count data from stations across the country.
MYTH #5: Local Honey Can Reduce Allergies
FACT: Some people believe eating local honey will help reduce allergies by making them immune to pollen. There are no scientific studies to back up this theory and the kind of pollen in honey isn't the same kind that causes seasonal allergies.
MYTH #6: Hay Fever Comes From Hay
FACT: Hay fever isn't a fever, and it doesn't come from hay. Hay fever, otherwise known as allergic rhinitis, is caused by grass, tree, and weed pollens as well as mold. If you have allergies, you may be more likely to suffer a reaction while in the countryside. But some studies have shown that children who grow up on farms are less likely to develop allergies.
MYTH #7: You Will Outgrow Your Allergies
FACT: Allergies often begin in childhood. But you can develop allergies as an adult, too. Some occur after you change your environment and encounter new allergens. Some adults redevelop symptoms they had during childhood. Some children do outgrow some allergies, but very few children outgrow hay fever.
MYTH #8: It's A Cold, Not Seasonal Allergies
FACT: If you develop a cold at the same time every year, it may be an allergy. While colds and allergies have similar symptoms, here are some important differences. Seasonal allergy symptoms usually include sneezing, itchy, watery eyes, and congestion. Cold symptoms may include coughing, body aches, fatigue, sneezing, sore throat and congestion. And while colds usually last 3 to 14 days, seasonal allergies usually last months.
MYTH #9: Mold Allergies Strike Only Indoors
FACT: Mold can be found almost anywhere. Mold grows on soil, dead leaves, and rotting wood -- especially when it’s damp. When spring comes, molds grow on plants that died in the cold weather and you’re most likely to have an allergic reaction to mold in the summer.
MYTH #10: There's No Relief During Allergy Season
FACT: While there are no full cures for allergies, allergy shots are the closest thing and can help ease the effect of allergies. If you have bad allergies, regular injections may dramatically reduce your reaction to certain allergens. You will see the best results if you follow your doctor’s treatment plan. And while it's hard to avoid pollen during certain seasons, you can reduce how much pollen you're in contact with, by keeping windows closed, staying indoors when the pollen count is high, avoiding freshly cut grass, and not hanging laundry outside to dry.