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Allergy Myths Busted

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HOUSTON, Texas ( Ivanhoe Newswire) - From your skin to your nose to your digestive system, allergies can affect them all. Sufferers will try just about anything to get relief, but some might be wasting their time.

Allergies affect millions and troublesome dust and dander spread through the air and so do myths about ways to beat them.

Some believe bees make the best allergy fighter and the pollen collected in their honey can help you build immunity.

"With just one tablespoon of honey every morning," Dr. Dasgupta told Ivanhoe.

But there has been little research on the allergy benefits of local honey. A 2002 study found it was not effective, but a small study in 2011 showed it reduced symptoms in birch pollen sufferers by 60-percent.

Dr. Dasgupta said while there's not much scientific backing, there's not much harm in trying it either.

"Honey is not going to cause any harm to your body, so if it doesn't do any harm to your body, what do you have to lose?"

If you think moving to the desert will get rid of your allergies, think again.

Some of the plants that trigger your symptoms might not be in the desert, but grass and ragweed pollen is found just about everywhere.

Research shows exposure to dogs early in life can help prevent pet allergies. People who are already allergic to man's best friend might think hypo-allergenic dogs are the answer to their problem, but a study at Henry Ford Hospital found they do not have lower household allergen levels than other dog breeds.

While some people believe the allergens are in the fur, they're actually in the animal's skin and saliva. The best bet for those with pet allergies could be a short-haired dog. They shed less and produce less dander.

While they're annoying, there seems to be a major upside to allergies.

A study published in the journal of the national cancer institute suggests people with allergies have a 20 to 50-percent lower risk of developing glioblastoma, a deadly form of brain cancer.

RESEARCH SUMMARY

ALLERGIES: A normal immune system protects the body from certain bacteria and viruses, and also reacts to foreign substances called allergens which are typically not harmful. However, when the immune response is oversensitive it launches a response when it recognizes an allergen and releases histamines which are what cause allergy symptoms. Allergies are normally not inherited but if both parents have allergies their children are likely to have them and if a child's mother has allergies they also have a higher likelihood of having allergies. (Source: www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)

PREVENTION: It has been found that breast feeding infants for the first 4 to 6 months may help prevent them from developing allergies later on because it strengthens the baby's immune system and breast milk is very unlikely to trigger an allergic reaction in babies at risk of food allergies. Reducing children's contact to dust mites by putting "allergen impermeable" covers on pillows and mattresses, washing bedding in warm water weekly, and keeping the humidity in the house below 50% may also delay or prevent allergies from developing. (Source: www.aaaai.org)

ALTERNATIVE REMEDIES: Although allergy shots and other medications are available, these are some alternative remedies that might help relieve annoying symptoms. 

  • Rinsing out the sinuses with a neti pot or bulb syringe will flush out thickened mucus and irritants which helps with congestion and hay fever symptoms.
  • The herbs butterbur and stinging nettle may help to relieve or improve symptoms of allergic rhinitis.
  • The herb choline might help to relieve some asthma symptoms.

(Source: www.mayoclinic.com)

 ALLERGY FACTS: Many people only take allergy medications once symptoms of an allergy attack start, but it is actually better if the medication is already in a person's system or taken right after exposure to the cause of the allergy even though symptoms are not yet present. It is also important to know that allergies can develop later in life so even if an individual has no allergies as a child that does not mean they will be free of allergies their entire life. If a person begins to experience allergy like symptoms they should see a doctor to decide if they have developed a new allergy. People with allergies should also note that having an allergy to one thing may mean they are more prone to have other allergies, so be aware. (Source: www.abcnews.com)

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT:

Robert Cahill
UTHealth Media Relations
(713) 500- 3030
robert.cahill@uth.tmc.edu

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