Dusting Off 9 Seasonal Allergy Myths

As the changing of the season brings longer days and buds and blossoms, it also brings some less welcome side effects for the roughly 35 million seasonal allergy sufferers in the United States.

And with those allergic symptoms come some tidbits of advice that don't quite seem to be on the level.

While the origins of allergies remain unclear, most of the conventional wisdom about seasonal allergies can be cleared up with a little digging.


For seasonal allergy sufferers, that may be only a small bit of relief.

"We have seen a dramatic increase in pollen over the last 20 years, and it is the most severe allergy season we see in this area," said Dr. David J. Shulan, an allergist and vice president of Certified Allergy & Asthma Consultants in Albany, N.Y., as well as a fellow of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.

Of course, he notes that because not all allergy sufferers have the same allergies, the worst periods will vary.

Tree season will last through June, while grass will begin to create a problem in mid-May and peak in June. Ragweed problems will begin in the last month of the summer, while mold will peak in midsummer and last until temperatures start to drop.

Of course, for people with allergies in different parts of the country, those peaks of allergy symptoms will vary.

While people on the East Coast may complain of problems with ragweed, Shulan noted that ragweed pollen counts can be 50 times higher in the Midwest.

A change in schedule may even be necessary.

"If you have pollen allergies, avoid going out between 6 [a.m.] and 10 a.m., that's generally a peak time for allergies," said Shulan.

Get Your Questions Answered at the ABCNews.com OnCall+ Allergy Center

For those worried about what to expect each season, and for those hoping to check advice before passing it on to a sneezing friend or family member, we present nine bits of conventional wisdom that needed a little more checking out.

Fact or Myth? Moving (Especially to an Arid Climate) Will Solve Your Allergy Problems

Answer: Possibly

"Your allergies will follow you, no matter where you go," said Dr. Dan Dalan, an allergist in Fargo, N.D., who is a clinical associate professor at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine.

That means some allergies might be relieved by moving to a different climate, but you may also discover that you have other allergies to your new home.

"If you're dust mite allergic, you will get better," said Dr. Rohit Katial, director of the Weinberg Clinical Research Unit of National Jewish Medical and Research Center and a contributor to ABCNews OnCall+ of a move to a drier climate like those found in Arizona and Colorado.

Dalan noted that for his mother, a move to Nevada from the Midwest helped her allergies. But, obviously, whether moving will help your allergies depends on which allergies you have in the first place.

While you may escape some allergies in the move, a new plant may trigger allergies you didn't previously know you had.

"You can develop new allergies wherever you go," Dalan said.

So it isn't a cure for everybody.

"There's nothing magical about moving to an arid climate, besides the nature of the exposure changing," Katial said.

And as the next myth will explain, you may not know for a while if the moving even helped.

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