5 Myths About Allergies- Busted!
- Posted on: Oct 24 2023
1. I don’t have itchy eyes, runny nose, or sneezing; Therefore I don’t have allergies
This is a common misconception about allergies. Allergy symptoms such as itchy eyes, runny nose, and sneezing are considered the “acute phase” of allergy and are only present in some individuals. A lot of individuals have the “chronic phase” of allergy that may not include any of those symptoms at all. These symptoms may be nasal congestion, facial pressure, headaches, and drainage, which may be sometimes confused with a sinus infection.
Sometimes, the only symptom of allergies may just be snoring. This is because nasal blockage is one of the leading drivers of snoring in many individuals, and some people don’t even notice it because they’ve lived with it for years.
If you have any of those symptoms, consider a consultation at our clinic and an allergy test.
2. Allergy tests are painful with needles
The tests performed at our clinic are skin prick (percutaneous) tests with no needles. This test is essentially painless. A device is dipped into a well of allergens and pressed onto the back. Some clinics perform intradermal testing with needles where a small amount of the allergen is injected into the skin. This type of testing has a higher risk for anaphylaxis (severe allergic reaction) and is used for allergy shot therapy, which is not used at our clinic.
3. Allergy shots are stronger than allergy drops
Allergy shots (subcutaneous immunotherapy) are where a small amount of the molecular allergen is injected into the subcutaneous tissue (beneath the dermis of the skin). In comparison, allergy drops (sublingual immunotherapy) are liquid drops that are placed underneath the tongue and stimulate certain cells that promote antibody formation. Studies have shown that both types of therapy are equally effective if the patient is equally compliant. Since traveling to the doctor’s office weekly is difficult, compliance with allergy shots is much more difficult. Also, allergy shots in general need to be weaker in the beginning to reduce severe local reactions at the injection site and the risk of severe allergic reaction. This means it may take much longer to see benefits with shots than allergy drops where the treatment is strong from the onset. This also typically reduces compliance for patients on shots.
4. Allergies are only present in the springtime when everything is blooming
Depending on where you live, allergies may actually be present year-round. Here in Texas, allergen counts will fluctuate greatly throughout the year. Cedar elevates in winter, ragweed in the fall, oak higher in the spring…and so on. If you live in a colder climate, winter environmental allergens will be low due to freezing, but don’t forget about indoor allergens like pet dander and dust!
5. My allergy test was negative so I don’t have allergies.
This is one of the most common misconceptions. A negative allergy test does not mean you don’t have allergies. There is a phenomenon called Local Allergic Rhinitis (LAR) where a skin or blood allergy test is negative, but the patient still experiences allergy symptoms. This is because the patient has a true local allergy isolated to the sinus and nasal lining that isn’t systemic so it will not show on blood or skin testing. We can still use allergy drops for these patients successfully by taking their historical information and making the drops comprehensive.
If you think you may have allergies and/or want to be tested, consider making an appointment with our clinic for an evaluation by calling or HIPAA-compliantly texting us at 512-601-0303!
Posted in: Allergies