It may be hard to believe, but the prevalence of allergies in some communities Up to 50% It has risen and 1 in 2 people has allergies. This multiplies the importance of paying attention to misconceptions about allergies. How much do you know about misconceptions about allergies? In this article, you will learn about 11 misconceptions about allergies.
To summarize, an allergy is an abnormal immune response triggered by a specific substance. Symptoms usually include itchy eyes, sneezing, and wheezing. For many people, the allergic reaction is just an unpleasant and annoying experience, but for some it can be fatal.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that about 60 million people in the United States develop allergies each year. The World Health Organization (WHO) also estimates that about 20% of the world’s population has some form of allergy.
Therefore, knowing the misconceptions about allergies will help us deal with this issue and control it properly. Join us as we explore 11 important misconceptions about allergies.
1. Allergies only develop in childhood
One of the most common beliefs is that by the time you reach adulthood, you will no longer have allergies. This is not true; For example, according to a study on food allergies, 40,443 adults in the United States were surveyed. At the time of this study, 10.8% of them had food allergies.
According to the study, at least one of these allergies occurred in adulthood in half of those with food allergies.
۲. There is no cure for allergies
In general, the best way to minimize allergy responses is to Avoid allergens Is. This factor can be some kind of food or animal.
There is no effective treatment for allergies. However, there are methods that are helpful in reducing allergy symptoms; For example, drugs that are effective in treating nasal congestion can relieve nasal symptoms in allergies; Antihistamines and nasal sprays such as anti-inflammatory sprays can also be helpful.
In addition to these cases, it is believed that Immunotherapy It can also reduce allergies. According to the American Center for Allergy, Asthma and Immunology Research, “In immunotherapy, a substance or allergen is gradually given to a person who is allergic to it. This gradual increase in the allergen causes the immune system to become less sensitive to the substance. “It may also cause the production of obstructive antibodies, which will reduce allergy symptoms in future exposure to the substance.”
3. Food allergies and food intolerances are one and the same
This statement is not true. Dietary allergies and food intolerances are different. When a person has a food allergy, it is due to an immune response and is usually due to aminoglobin (IgE) activity.
During the immune response to this substance, aminoglobin binds to specific receptors on immune cells, especially mast cells and basophils. These cells produce histamine or other substances that cause allergy symptoms to appear quickly.
Incompatibilities, on the other hand, do not involve an immune response and their symptoms appear later. Although incompatibilities are not usually life-threatening, food allergies can be fatal in some cases.
4. Allergies last a lifetime
Fortunately, this belief is incorrect. Although some allergies last a lifetime, some allergies may go away with age.
Whether allergies are treated over time depends on the nature of the allergen. “Although children’s allergies to milk, eggs, soy, and wheat are treated with age, allergies to peanuts, tree nuts, fish, and oysters usually last a lifetime,” the authors explain in an article on food allergies.
5. The most serious allergy is an allergy to peanuts
Although peanut allergy, with its many properties, is one of the most common allergies (affecting 6.1 million people in the United States) and can certainly be dangerous, it is not possible to classify the severity of allergies. Some people may have a mild reaction to peanuts and others may experience anaphylactic shock. Anaphylaxis is a severe and in some cases fatal allergic response. In this phenomenon, a large amount of histamine is released into the body and triggers an inflammatory response. Symptoms of anaphylaxis include:
- Shortness of breath;
- Chest tightness;
- Abdominal pain and cramping;
- Swelling of the legs, arms, eyes, and sometimes genitals;
6. Colds and allergies are one
Although colds and allergies have many common symptoms (including nasal congestion and runny eyes), there are two main differences:
- Cold symptoms are caused by the immune response to a virus, but allergies are the immune response to an allergen.
- Colds last only 1 to 2 weeks, but allergies can last a lifetime.
7. Short-haired cats and dogs do not cause allergies
This statement is not true. For some people, some races are less likely to cause allergies, but there are no specific rules for this. Allergies are not triggered by animal hair, but are caused by dead skin cells, saliva or urine.
In addition, the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology explains, “Animal hair or wool can accumulate pollen, mold, spores, and other environmental allergens.”
8. Some species of animals are hypersensitive
Many people believe that some types of pets, such as some breeds of cats and dogs, are less allergenic, meaning that they do not provoke allergies. This belief is incorrect. The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology explains: “Contrary to popular belief, there is no hypersensitivity to dogs and cats. “The dead skin cells of cats and dogs are not affected by the length of their hair or fur or the rate of hair loss.”
9. Always being exposed to animals reduces allergies to them
There is a common theory that if people who are allergic to an animal spend a lot of time with that animal, their allergies will improve over time. This does not happen. In fact, some people who have pets may develop allergies to their pets over time.
When our immune system is sensitive to a allergen, such as a pet, we will still be allergic to it if we are exposed to large amounts of dead hair or skin. Immunotherapy, allergy vaccines, and hypersensitivity reduction are also effective if accompanied by the advice of an allergist and in low doses and gradually increasing.
Another point is that if pets have been in the house since childhood, as children grow older, they are less likely to get allergies to those animals.
10. Allergies are not a serious problem
Fortunately for many people, allergies are just annoying, but they are not dangerous. For some people, however, an allergic reaction can lead to anaphylaxis. We talked about anaphylaxis in misconception # 5.
Even relatively mild allergies can cause many problems, such as seasonal allergies. Alfalfa fever reduces proper sleep and drowsiness during the day. Therefore, it makes it difficult to focus on work and increases the likelihood of absenteeism or work accidents.
In 2012, a study of 616 people examined the effect of hay fever on health-related quality of life. Researchers have found that hay fever has a greater effect on job performance than blood pressure and type 2 diabetes.
Another 2009 study examining the broader impact of seasonal allergies found that hay fever had a significant negative effect on sexual activity and could lead to sleep disorders and extreme fatigue.
۱۱. Alfalfa fever is caused by flowers
It may come as a surprise to you, but it is not true. Alfalfa fever, spring allergies, or inflammation of the nasal mucosa are caused by airborne pollen. Flowers generally produce coarse, sticky pollen that cannot be easily suspended in the air. The flowers are designed to attract insects and attach their pollen to their bodies, not to release their pollen into the air.
One of the biggest causes of hay fever is the light pollen of grasses and trees.
The last word
Allergies are unexpectedly common and can be mild or fatal. Perhaps it is because of their prevalence or variety that such misconceptions exist. Their unexpected nature is not ineffective in this matter either. After all, why should a person’s immune system react to a peanut or a dog ?!
Although there is no cure for allergies, scientists have not stopped researching. Surely one day they will find a way to reduce the impact of this problem on the world’s population.
Are you allergic to anything or do you have seasonal allergies? How annoying is this for you? What treatments have you used and which methods have worked for you? Reading your experiences can be instructive for many.