Approximately 20 percent of Americans suffer from allergies or asthma. With that much sneezing and wheezing going around, it’s not surprising that many people are confused about the causes and treatments of these conditions.
According to a survey by the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, these are the top 10 myths about these conditions, and the truth about them.
- Some breeds of dogs are better for people with asthma and allergies.
Truth: The protein found in pet saliva, dander and urine triggers allergies — not the pet’s hair. All dogs produce saliva, dander and urine, so no particular breed is better than any other.
- Inhaled medications are dangerous.
Truth: These medications are generally safe and effective.
- Children will outgrow asthma.
Truth: Asthma is chronic. Some symptoms may improve during adolescence, but children with asthma will always have sensitive airways.
- Asthma can be cured.
Truth: Asthma has no cure. But proper diagnosis and treatment can help asthma sufferers lead healthy, active lives.
- Alternative medications work as well as prescriptions.
Truth: Alternative medications for allergies and asthma have had only limited studies, so the safety and effectiveness of these treatments is still unknown.
- Asthma and allergies can be cured by a move to the southwestern United States.
Truth: The climate of the southwestern United States may improve allergy symptoms for a few months, but allergy sufferers usually develop new allergies to the local plants and animals.
- A chiropractor can cure asthma.
Truth: An overactive immune system causes asthma. Allergy and immunology specialists have had an additional two years of training in the treatment of these conditions, and are generally the best physicians to treat them.
- Allergies to pets will decrease with continuous exposure.
Truth: Continuous exposure to pets will not decrease allergies. The most effective treatment is to remove the pet from the home. Keeping the pet out of the bedroom is the next best thing, along with bathing the pet twice a week to reduce the allergens in the air.
- Allergies are basically harmless.
Truth: If left untreated, allergies may impair sleep and learning abilities. They can also cause other chronic respiratory problems such as asthma and sinusitis. Some allergies may even cause anaphylaxis, a life-threatening allergic reaction.
- Smoking doesn’t trigger allergies or asthma.
Truth: Smoking is a known trigger of these conditions. Cigarette smoke should be avoided, as well as other triggers such as pollens, molds, animal dander and dust mites.For more information on diagnosis and treatment of allergies and asthma, contact an allergy specialist.
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