Seasonal allergies are no fun. Whether you’ve dealt with them since elementary school, or are just now discovering the sneezing, sniffling, congestion and itchy eyes for the first time as an adult, welcome to the club — every spring, 36 million in the U.S. grab a box of tissues and brace for the next six to ten weeks of air-borne misery. There are plenty of ideas out there on how to treat allergies … some of it more useful than others. See if you can spot the fact from fiction below:
Does living in a desert cure allergies?
Nope. Don’t park your trailer in the west desert just yet. Grass and ragweed pollens are found nearly everywhere. A new environment might ease your symptoms temporarily, but the relief could be short-lived. New allergens are probably lurking, ready to trigger a reaction.
Does eating local honey cure allergies?
Unfortunately, No. Some people try and use honey as a natural remedy for allergies. But most reactions aren’t triggered by the type of pollen found in honey. Even a Pooh-Bear sized jar of it won’t build your immunity. Enjoy it with butter on toast, but know that even local varieties probably won’t ease your symptoms.
Will I outgrow my seasonal allergies?
Sorry Kid. Most won’t, especially if they have hay fever (allergic rhinitis). A study in Sweden tracked 82 people with hay fever and found that 99% still had it 12 years later. But 39% did say they had some improvement.
Can the pollen count predict bad allergy days?
Actually, Yes. Pollen counts measure how much of the fine yellow dust is in the air over a period of time. A high count means you’re more likely to have symptoms when you go outside. You can use it to decide whether to play outdoors, or instead catch up on Netflix for the day.
Does rain clear the air of pollen?
Yes, Depending … Temperature, time of day, humidity, and rain can affect levels of pollen. If you have allergies to pollen, the best time to go outside is right after a good storm. Pollen counts run lowest on chilly, soggy days. But mold spores, on the other hand, show up in damp weather. You’re most likely to have an allergic reaction to mold on wet summer days.
Can allergy shots help?
We know this one for a fact. They aren’t a cure, but if you have bad allergies, they might help. Regular injections greatly reduce some people’s reactions to certain allergens. (There are also under-the-tongue meds that work the same way.) Allergy shots help your body get used to the things that trigger an allergic reaction. In time, your symptoms will get better and you may not have symptoms as often.
You may want to consider allergy shots — called “immunotherapy” — if you have symptoms more than 3 months a year and medicines don’t give you enough relief. At first, you’ll go to your doctor once or twice a week for several months. You’ll get the shot in your upper arm. It’ll contain a tiny amount of the allergen — pollen, mold, dander, or bee venom, for example. The dose will go up gradually until you get to what’s called a maintenance dose. After that you’ll probably get a shot every 2-4 weeks for several months. Then your doctor will gradually increase the time between shots. During that time, your allergy symptoms will get better and may even go away.
If you want to know if immunotherapy might be right for you, make an appointment to talk to one of our friendly doctors. We’ll keep the box of kleenex handy.