T Off Men's Health

Seasonal Allergies: Fact Or Fiction

Seasonal allergies can be brutal, and these days there’s a lot of misinformation around what causes allergies and how to avoid them. Here, Dr. Jeff Millstein from Penn Medicine sorts out what’s fact and what’s fiction when it comes to seasonal allergies.

Myth #1: You can develop allergies as an adult. This one is a FACT! Adults are not immune from developing new allergies or getting them for the first time later in life. Allergies are your body’s response to substances that your immune system mistakenly identifies as harmful. As we age, our immune system becomes weaker, which in turn weakens our hyper-allergic reactions. Typically, most adults who experience allergies later in life have had a previous allergic episode that they may not remember. These can start during early childhood and lay dormant through your teenage years, then pop back up later in life. So if you’re feeling the sniffles but assume it couldn’t possibly be allergies, think again.

Myth #2: Eating local honey helps relieve allergy symptoms. Unfortunately, this one is FICTION! There’s been a lot of buzz around this idea because bees collect pollen from local plants and use it to create their honey. …and therefore it could help build up your immunity to those local allergens. Believe it or not, flower pollen is actually one of the least common allergens. What really triggers most people’s seasonal allergies are pollens from trees, grass and weeds, which won’t be found in your local honey. So while honey is delicious, your best bet for allergy relief is over-the-counter medication.

Myth #3: Using nasal spray frequently can be bad for you. This is a FACT – and it’s a serious one too! Nasal decongestant sprays can work like a charm, but they are NOT meant for long-term treatment of allergy symptoms… and can cause serious harm if not used properly. These sprays contain chemicals that shrink the enlarged blood vessels that are causing your congestion. After more than a few days’ use, those blood vessels can become dependent on the drugs, causing you to need to use more and more of it to get the same results. This is called the rebound phenomenon, and over time, it can lead to chronic sinusitis and other serious nasal problems. As an alternative, try some other remedies like oral antihistamines or decongestants. And if you do opt for nasal sprays, use nasal corticosteroids, rather than decongestants. They are effective at relieving symptoms and don’t carry the same risk when used daily during the allergy season.

When it comes to seasonal allergies, it’s best to be proactive and keep a consistent treatment plan to manage your symptoms. If you have questions about what’s best for you, be sure to consult us on your next visit or book an allergy test by calling 817-632-5400.