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Myths and Facts About Seasonal Allergies

Desert Climates Cure Allergies

Myth. Don't pick up and move to escape your allergies. Grass and ragweed pollens are found nearly everywhere. Changing climates may curb your allergies, but it could be short-lived. Not long after your move, you may start reacting to the allergens in your new environment.

Flowers Commonly Trigger Allergies

Myth. Very few people have allergic reactions to a bouquet of beautiful blossoms. The pollens made by trees, grasses, and weeds is are usually to blame.

There's No Pollen at the Beach

Myth. Beaches can be nice vacation spots for people with allergies. They generally have lower pollen counts. But even a short drive or walk away from the sand will expose you. Grasses are common near beaches, and ragweed pollen can be found as far as 400 miles out to sea.

Pollen Counts Can Predict Bad Days

Fact. Pollen counts determine how many grains of pollen are measured in a specific amount of air over a period of time. A high count means you're more likely to have symptoms when you go outside. You can check your local pollen count with the WebMD pollen counter (http://www.webmd.com/allergies/healthtool-pollen-counter-calculator). It can help you plan your day.

Local Honey Can Fight Off Allergies

Myth. Some people believe local honey is a natural remedy for pollen allergies. But most allergies are not brought on by the pollen found in honey – and that means eating it won't help you build up your immunity. So, enjoy its sweet taste, but local honey won't give you allergy relief.

You Will Outgrow Your Allergies

Myth. When it comes to allergies, most kids won't outgrow them -- especially hay fever (allergic rhinitis). A hospital in Sweden tracked 82 people with hay fever and found 99% still had it 12 years later. But 39% did report improvement.

Rain Washes Away Pollen

Fact. Pollen levels can be affected by temperature, time of day, humidity, and rain. The best days for people with allergies to go outdoors are those right after heavy rains. Pollen counts run lowest on chilly, soggy days. They tend to run highest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., especially on hot, dry, and windy days. If you want to go outdoors, try to wait until the late afternoon.

Mold Allergies Strike Only Indoors

Myth. Mold spores can be found almost anywhere. They grow on soil, decaying leaves, and rotting wood -- especially in damp weather. You're most likely to have an allergic reaction to mold in the summer. Most outdoor molds aren't active in the winter. When spring comes around, molds grow on plants that died in the cold weather.

Hay Fever Comes From Hay

Myth. Don't let the name fool you. Hay fever isn't a fever, and it doesn't come from hay. It's caused by tree, grass, and weed pollens, as well as mold spores. If you have allergies, you may be more likely to have a reaction in a rural area. But some studies show that children who grow up on farms are less likely to develop allergies.

No Childhood Allergies? No Worries

Myth. Allergies often begin in childhood. But you can develop allergies as an adult, too. Some come on after you change your environment and encounter new allergens. And even if you think you've overcome a childhood allergy, some people develop symptoms again as adults.

Regular Injections Can Ease Allergies

Fact. While there are no cures for allergies, allergy shots -- also known as immunotherapy -- are the closest thing. If you have bad allergies or reactions to many different allergens, you might benefit from this treatment. For some people, regular injections greatly reduce their reaction to certain allergens. If you go that route, you'll have to stick with the treatment plan to see the greatest results.

Relief for Allergies On the Go TOC

Reviewed by Brunilda Nazario, MD on March 10, 2014

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