Debunking Common Allergy Myths

It may seem counterintuitive, but some age-old beliefs as to the causes of allergies such as pet hairs are plain myths, proven false by years of medical research.

Myth: Pets and Pet Hairs
Often, many households are quickly led to believe that whatever is visible – or at least those stubborn pet hairs on your carpet or your jacket – might be the culprit that causes allergic reactions to some individuals. But pet hair, just like human hair, doesn’t cause the allergic reaction at all.

It turns out that loose particles from animal skin, commonly referred as dander, trigger allergies. Whether any allergic reaction will occur among family members will depend in part on whether extra effort is made to eliminate these particles from your home. By bathing your pet regularly and thoroughly, and vacuuming frequently, you can effectively remove most of the allergy-causing dander from your living space.

Myth: Upset Stomach and Food Allergies?
Unless individuals are educated about the real score on food allergens, they are most likely to believe that an upset stomach immediately after a meal may have been caused by food allergy (Small 2008). This widespread propensity – a whooping 35% among the populations studied – among individuals is a fairly common belief; in fact, only 2% of the upset stomach cases is likely to have actual cases of allergies (Rona, et. al. 2007).

More often than not, many individuals easily deduce cause-and-effect relationships that have no medical relevance at all. One good example is the common belief that iodine found in shellfish, shrimp, lobster, or crabs causes allergic reactions. Scientific studies, however, have upended such theories, proving that proteins found in these types of seafood – and not iodine – cause allergies in susceptible individuals (Beall, et. al., 2007).

Myth: Cure and Treatment
Contrary to common belief, studies show that some forms of allergies can be completely reversed, or at least, partially cured. By undergoing a process called immunotherapy, individuals are given small doses of the allergens to which they are susceptible.

Immunotherapy may take years to complete, or until the allergy disappears, either partially or completely. Although this treatment has seen limited success with favorable results among cases caused by environmental allergies such as dust, pollen or insect stings, these studies are indeed very promising nonetheless.

When symptoms arise, always seek immediate medical attention. In cases where allergic reactions can be life threatening, portable epinephrine injectors can curb the symptoms, and even save the lives of many individuals. Indeed, no form of alternatives or common beliefs should make up for the professional advice and care that professional allergists can provide in the first place.

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