Smell the Roses

The smell of freshly cut grass and budding yellow tulips can be a refreshing reminder that spring finally is here. Another reminder: 55 percent of people in the United States will suffer from itchy eyes, runny noses, constant sneezing, or other allergy-related symptoms. Dr. Clovis Manley, medical director of Plaza Park Family Practice and Dèjá Vu Skin & Vein Center, offers insight into allergy truths and myths.

Children can outgrow allergies.
“This is true. Allergies can come and go during the course of your lifetime. It’s also possible that you may develop new allergies.”

I should save my prescription allergy medicine for the days I’m suffering the most.
“This is partly true. Antihistamines are quick acting, so you should use them as needed. If you’re using inhaled corticosteroid medicines such as Singulair, these work better if you have them in your system for a few weeks.”

Allergies are not life-threatening.
“Allergies can be life-threatening if they are associated with allergic asthma. If someone is extensively exposed to something they’re allergic to and this sets off an asthma reaction, it potentially could be life-threatening.” 

Moving to a different region will cure my allergies.
“That may have been true in the past, but we’ve noticed that people tend to take their trees, shrubs, and grasses with them when they move. Now, many allergens exist elsewhere when they used to only exist (in the Midwest).” 

Environmental factors always are the cause of allergies.
“Not entirely true. I encourage people to get tested because many think they have environmental allergies when they really have irritation problems from occupational or toxic exposures such as smoke and chemicals.”

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