Spring is here. Are you sneezing yet? You might think you know a thing or two about allergies, but finding out what’s true and what’s just plain wrong will help you get through the allergy and asthma season.
1. I only need my medication when I have symptoms
Don’t wait until your symptoms are bothering you to take your medications. For some medications, especially nasal and inhaled steroids, it may take time (sometimes up to two weeks) for the medications to start having a significant effect. Start your medicines before the season starts. These medications will prevent and control your allergy and asthma symptoms during the season.
2. I’ll grow out of my childhood allergies and asthma
Not everyone will outgrow their allergies and asthma. Many patients will notice a decrease in symptoms as they head into adolescence and adulthood. However, we are seeing more patients develop a return of symptoms in their 20s and 30s. Unfortunately, there is no way to predict whose symptoms will decrease and whose will return.
3. Local honey can alleviate or cure seasonal allergies
People mistakenly believe that the pollen in bee honey helps build immunity to pollens that cause seasonal allergies. In fact, most pollen in bee honey comes from flowers, not windswept pollens such as trees, grasses and weeds. Why does this matter? Windswept pollens are more likely to cause your allergy symptoms whereas flower pollen is heavy and falls to the ground — and are less likely to cause allergy symptoms.
4. I can only be diagnosed with asthma if I wheeze
There are many different types of asthma and not all asthmatics wheeze. Identify your asthma triggers and come up with an asthma action plan with your physician.
5. Allergies and asthma are only seasonal
Many people experience allergy and asthma symptoms all year. With allergies, your immune system responds to harmless environmental elements (e.g., pollen, mold, dust) as if they were harmful substances. People that suffer from year-round allergies and asthma are usually responding to indoor allergens like pet dander, mold, dust mites, cockroaches and other triggers that are present in the environment all year.
6. I only need to see a specialist if symptoms are severe
Allergies and asthma can affect your day-to-day activities and quality of life. Even if your symptoms are mild, you should visit an allergist to identify your triggers and come up with a plan to both prevent and treat your symptoms.