Myths and facts related to allergies

3rd edition of the HealthCare Heroes Awards 2023

Allergies can result when a person reacts to environmental elements that are usually safe for most people. Allergens are compounds present in dust mites, animals, pollen, insects, ticks, mold, food and some medicines. To better understand allergies, we spoke to Dr. Harish N, Senior Consultant Neonatology and Pediatrics, Apollo Cradle and Children’s Hospital, Koramangala, Bangalore. Dr. Harish explains some important myths and facts related to allergies in humans.

Does allergies only happen in children?

This statement is false, as allergies are not limited to any age group. Dr. Harish said, “No, allergies also occur in adults and children.”

You can outgrow allergies

No, you can’t outgrow allergies. You can only avoid certain allergic substances that can trigger the allergies. To do this, you need to make some changes to your environment or figure out how to stay away from things that trigger allergy attacks, but you can’t really outgrow them, Dr. Harish said.

Read also: 7 foods that can cause allergies in children

The only cure for allergies is to avoid triggers

Dr. Harish stated that there is currently no cure for allergies. However, there are over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription medications that can relieve symptoms. The definitive treatment is to avoid triggers, but there are many other medical treatments (such as antihistamines and steroids), which will help relieve the symptoms, but yes, prevention is the first line of treatment.

You can’t distinguish between a cold and allergies

According to Dr. Harish, allergies can cause many upper respiratory symptoms, just like the common cold. You may have congestion and sneezing, but you will also likely have watery or itchy eyes and itchy skin. He stressed that you can distinguish between a cold due to allergies and a cold caused by a viral infection, as many viral infections have associated symptoms such as fever, headache and body aches.

Allergies do not occur in winter

This is a myth that revolves around allergies. Dr. Harish said allergies can occur year-round, and winters are no exception. There is a chance that you may notice the allergies more during the winter, as allergy triggers increase, such as pollen, and the cold weather itself leads to narrowing of the airways, which in turn leads to coughing and wheezing. Therefore, allergies will certainly occur in winter.

Read also: Uncertain about what triggers allergies? Take these allergy tests to find out

Pollen and food allergies do not overlap

On this, Dr. Harish emphasized that both can happen at the same time if a person is sensitive to pollen and certain food products. Pollen Food Allergy Syndrome, also known as oral allergy syndrome, is caused by allergens that can react with pollen as well as uncooked fruits, vegetables, or even some nuts. The immune system triggers an allergic response when it recognizes pollen and related proteins in food, so pollen and food allergies can overlap.

take away

These expert myths and facts will help you learn about and better manage your allergies. If you suffer from an allergy, consider visiting your doctor for better symptom management. Your doctor will work with you to find the triggers that cause allergies and treat you accordingly.

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Myths and facts related to allergies

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