As someone who suffers from allergies, I’ve learned quite a bit about how to deal with them. Luckily, I found a great allergist who helped me find the right medications to keep my allergies at bay. Before that, though, I heard a number of common myths about allergies. Here are five things to keep in mind if you think you might be getting or have allergies.
Allergies show up right away
The first time you use a new medication or try a new food, you may not have an allergic reaction. I took penicillin multiple times, trying to get rid of strep throat, but the third time, I suddenly broke out in hives all over my legs. Similarly, a teenager might not be allergic to cats, but that teen, coming home after college, might find being in the same room with the cat causes red, watery eyes.
Hives are all the same
I discovered my allergy to dust mites because I went to the dermatologist with white welts. She told me they were hives. It turns out hives aren’t always simple red bumps; they can be white, they can be red, they can be small, they can be large. They can also appear almost anywhere on the body, including super-uncomfortable spots like the scalp and dangerous spots under the skin.
All food problems are allergies
Food allergies are common and easy to mistake for food intolerance. An allergy happens quickly after eating the food, can be dangerous or even life-threatening, can be brought up by small amounts of the food, and will occur every time you eat the food in question. Intolerances, however, normally occur gradually, are not life-threatening, and often only get triggered if you eat a lot of the food or eat the food often. If you’re not sure if you have a true allergy, see an allergist and get tested.
Asthma and allergies aren’t related
While not everyone who has asthma has allergies and vice-versa, the two often go together. In fact, half of those who have asthma have “allergic asthma,” which is asthma that is brought on by an allergic response. If you have allergic asthma, avoiding the allergic trigger can help avoid a serious asthma attack.
There are “allergy-proof” pets
Everyone has seen hairless pets that are “hypoallergenic,” but it’s not the hair that causes allergies: it’s actually flakes from the cat or dog’s skin. Even birds can cause allergies. To have a truly allergy-proof pet, you might have to go for a reptile or amphibian.
Allergies can be serious, and if you think that you have them, see a specialist. There are many treatments available, and they may help you get control over your symptoms.