Seasonal Allergies: Fact or Fiction with Dr. Jeff Millstein

By Adem Lewis / in , , , , , , , , , /

– Seasonal allergies
can be brutal, and these days,
there’s a lot of misinformation around what causes allergies
and how to avoid them. I’m Dr. Jeff Millstein
with Penn Medicine, and today, let’s find 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-allergenic reactions. Typically, most adults
who experience allergies later in life 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. I wish it was true,
but 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 peoples’ 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 a nasal spray, use nasal corticosteroids
rather than decongestants. They’re very effective
in relieving symptoms and don’t carry the same risk. When it comes to
seasonal allergies, it’s best to be pro-active and keep a consistent
treatment plan to manage your symptoms. If you have questions about
what’s best for you, be sure to consult
your primary care provider. To learn more about
Penn Primary Care, visit our website. And stay healthy out there.

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