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Common Misconceptions Around Allergies

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5 min read
Common Misconceptions Around Allergies
According to the CDC, as many as 60 million people per year in the United States experience allergic rhinitis during peak allergy seasons or even year-round. Allergy symptoms can include sneezing, a runny nose, congestion, etc. Our Euka Co-Founders, Harvard, UCLA, and Mayo Clinic Doctors, Drs. Bita and Shawn Nasseri, discuss some of the most common misconceptions about allergies.

1. If you don’t have seasonal allergies when you are young, you won’t develop them.


It’s a myth that if you don’t suffer from seasonal allergies as a kid, you won’t suffer from them as an adult. Our bodies are constantly coming into contact with new allergens, and you can become allergic to them at any point in life. However, if you have allergies as a child, there is a chance that you may eventually grow out of them as an adult. Conversely, many adults find that they develop food and environmental allergies in their twenties, thirties, and forties. This is related to what you are exposed to every day; for example, living next to blooming olive trees, cherry blossoms, or a field of dandelions. Over time, the repeated exposure can cause your immune system to overreact to minimal threats with maximum immune force. It’s like using a hammer to kill a mosquito; it causes collateral damage and uses vital immune resources.

2. Seasonal allergies won’t cause an upset stomach.


Oftentimes, when suffering from seasonal allergies, we may eat foods that trigger allergic and inflammatory reactions in our airways, our skin, and our gut (gastrointestinal tract). Frequently, you "stack" minor allergic reactions to trees, dogs, and dust mites together with seasonal pollen (ragweed, pigweed, etc.), and this throws you over the threshold of miserable allergy symptoms. As soon as you leave your dusty office building and walk outside, the blowing ragweed or tree pollen causes nasal congestion, a runny nose, and other inflammatory hormones in the nose and throat. These are swallowed and frequently cause an upset stomach, bloating, nausea, etc. because histamine is released in the body and the mucus which enters the GI tract. There are some foods that can act synergistically to make symptoms worse during allergy season, including wheat, berries, alcohol, and the nightshade family, including tomatoes, eggplant, and persimmon. We recommend staying away from these foods if you are a candidate for seasonal allergies during the elevated levels of allergy season.

3. Allergy symptoms and COVID-19 symptoms are the same.


COVID-19 and allergy symptoms do in fact, differ. Understanding the differences not only helps determine the source of your illness but guides you in your treatment plan and recovery for better health. While there are overlapping symptoms between COVID and allergies, such as body aches, sinus pressure or pain, and a runny nose, there are distinct ways to identify the illness.

COVID-19 is oftentimes accompanied by upper respiratory symptoms including coughing and sneezing from which viral droplets of your breath spread. The most common allergy symptoms include a clear runny nose and dry cough. The main overlapping symptom between allergies and (the COVID-19 variant) omicron is severe nasal congestion and difficulty breathing through the nose. When we experience rapid weather changes, especially in the springtime, it can cause nasal obstruction, sinus pressure, and sinus pain that suggest either allergy symptoms or allergic sinusitis. This type of symptom oftentimes occurs and accompanies COVID-19 as well. Most allergy sufferers and those infected with COVID-19 face muscle aches, body aches, and fatigue.

Allergies can cause both watery and itchy eyes, as well as a runny nose because the allergens trigger the immune system, which initiates an inflammatory reaction. Allergens release histamine, which can cause inflammation. This inflammation causes blood vessels in the eyes to swell and itch, and even look a little red. This chemical response can also lead to feeling fatigued.

If you are unsure if you are suffering from COVID-19, we recommend accurate testing, usually through PCR testing.

4. Pregnant women often suffer from allergic rhinitis and hormone-induced rhinitis.


Since pregnant women carry their own fetuses, proper diagnosis and treatment are crucial. Saline sprays are safe for pregnant women. Saline sprays help loosen mucus, and clear allergens from the sinuses and are easily available over the counter. Dr. Shawn recommends checking the labels and ingredients of your saline spray before using it, as some will include harsh chemicals that can burn your nose.

The Euka Wellness and Cold and Allergy Saline Sprays are the perfect solutions! These sprays are some of the only preservative-free, sterile, and isotonic saline sprays available, and are gentle enough to be used on a daily basis. Simply spray the tip of each nostril 2-4 times per day and either gently blow in or out. Our saline sprays come in 2 packs, the reason being that after 2 weeks of using a single bottle of saline spray, bacteria starts to develop on the tip of the applicator. Think of a toothbrush head not being changed for 6 months!

Nasal saline sprays are typically safe and effective for most people, however, please consult your physician if you are experiencing diabetes, high blood pressure, glaucoma, or are breastfeeding.

5. Only use an air humidifier during allergy season.


A common misconception is that air humidifiers are only supposed to be used when you are experiencing allergy symptoms. However, incorporating air humidifiers into your daily routine helps to ensure you are creating a stable environment for your health. Whether it’s the dryness of the cold winter air, the rise of pollen from the blooming flowers of the spring, or even having your AC on full blast to keep you cool amidst the summer heat, air humidifiers can be used any time of year. They are especially useful for those suffering from, allergies, asthma, congestion, dry sinuses, dry throat, nose bleeds, or dry skin.

For best results, it is recommended to clean your air humidifier every 3 months and keep your air purifier's humidity level between 40-60%. If your humidifier isn’t maintained or cleaned properly, it can emit mold and harmful bacteria into the air.

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