Back-to-school time is nearly here. Moms everywhere are mourning in advance. The long, lazy days filled with nature walks, gardening, backyard barbecues, and sleeping under the stars will soon be at an end.
While other moms are thinking about where they can get the best deals on those ridiculous school supply lists, if you and/or your kids are allergy sufferers, your thoughts may lie elsewhere. Perhaps your highest hope for back-to-school season is that you and your kids survive it, impacted as little as possible by the endless sneezing, sniffling, itchy eyes, and wheezing that autumn allergies inevitably deliver.
Unfortunately, a number of myths surrounding the effective management of allergy symptoms routinely make the rounds this time of year, and some sufferers may be tempted to employ their well-meant but inappropriate advice. Some of the myths sound very believable. Unfortunately, none of them contain a lick of truth.
At best, following the advice contained in some of these myths may result in a net neutral: no benefit, no gain. But at worst, their advice may lead to unforeseen complications. By knowing the facts, you can steer clear of these myths altogether, and instead focus your efforts on choosing a treatment approach that works. You and your kids will be better for it.
Consuming local honey can treat allergies
The reasoning goes like this: Bees transport pollen, the supposed culprit for many who suffer from seasonal allergies. The honey these bees produce can be used in a way similar to a vaccine. Hopeful patients ingest a tablespoonful of local honey believing that by doing so, they are developing an immunity to regional pollen causing their symptoms.
Sadly, although the reasoning seems sound, there is no scientific evidence to support this claim. In fact, in their double blind, placebo controlled study, University of Connecticut Health Center researchers found no differences in symptomology among patients consuming local unfiltered honey, commercial honey, and a honey-like placebo.
A rain shower is an allergy sufferer’s best friend
You’ve probably heard it a thousand times. Meaning well, friends or family try to encourage an allergy-suffering child or adult by pointing out that rain is predicted soon. Their reasoning is that since there will be less pollen circulating in the air, allergy symptoms will abate.
Although this may be true for some sufferers, it is not true for all. Many allergy sufferers report an increase in symptom severity following a rain shower. A heavy rain may temporarily clear some pollen from the air, but it can also spur grass growth, particularly in summer and fall, causing more problems for those allergic to grasses. Ragweed and mold, other common allergy-causing culprits, can also get a boost from a strong rain.
A good antihistamine is all you need
Years ago, antihistamines were among the only other-the-counter treatment options for allergy sufferers. Although the newer generation antihistamines (e.g., Zyrtec, Claritin, and Xyzal) can provide significant symptomatic relief, particularly when coupled with a decongestant, antihistamines alone are not enough for some sufferers.
For some, the addition of a leukotriene modifier (e.g., Singulair) can make a significant difference in symptom management. Leukotrienes attack allergic symptoms at their core by blocking the chemicals that cause the inflammatory reaction that leads to excess mucous and blocked airways with which so many allergy suffers are painfully familiar.
Back-to-school doesn’t have to mean back-to-allergies. Although dealing with seasonal allergies can be challenging, by arming yourself with the facts, you can make better treatment decisions for yourself and your family.