9 Allergy Myths Debunked

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Allergy Myths Debunked

Li said children's immune systems learn to fight the germs, and so the development of allergies is less likely to occur in a germy environment.

While this doesn't give anyone the go-ahead to skip out on the household chores, it should make someone think twice about bleaching their entire home in the hopes of getting rid of allergens.

The American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology suggests keeping windows closed to cut down on pollen coming into the house, leave shoes at the door to avoid allergens and shower at the end of the day to cut down on pollen particles that can be brought into bed.

8. Myth: An allergy to one thing means you'll react only to that.

"This word 'only' is always an issue anyway," said Dr. Leonard Bielory, director of STARx Allergy and Asthma Center in Springfield, N.J. "Something can always be cross-reactive with something else. For example, if you're allergic to ragweed, you can also be allergic to chamomile."

Experts said that having some allergies might make a person more prone to being allergic to others.

About one-third of people with pollen allergies might react to certain foods, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. If a person is allergic to tree pollen, that same person might also have a reaction to certain plant-based foods, such as apples, cherries, almonds and walnuts.

9. Myth: Short-haired pets won't irritate allergies.

Contrary to popular belief, it is not a pet's hair that causes allergic reactions in people, but the animal's saliva and urine. So, really, doctors said the length of the dog or cat's hair does not make a difference in allergic reactions.

When pets lick themselves to stay clean, allergens are released into the air.

"If someone believes mistakenly that allergy is related to the hair of the pet, it might seem logical that a short-haired pet would cause less trouble than long-haired, but any animal, especially dogs and cats, have potential to generate allergies," Li said.

"Also, an individual may have one problem with one kind of pet, and they mistakenly attribute it to long- versus short-haired."

And along with the bodily fluids, the animal's skin can also be an allergen source.

"Patients with animal allergy are usually sensitive to the dander, or shed skin, of the pet," Fineman of Emory University said. "All furred pets have dander, so short-haired pets can also cause problems for patients with animal allergy."

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