Ask an expert: The truth behind allergy myths

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 24, 2013

If you’re one of the millions of allergy sufferers in this country, spring is the beginning of a season of misery. Despite the prevalence of allergies—about 50 million Americans are affected—some people still have misconceptions about them. Prachee Jain, MD, a board-certified physician at SouthPoint Internal Medicine, is here to sort out the most common of these misconceptions:

MYTH: Allergies are minor and don’t need to be treated.
FACT: Allergy symptoms can really make your life miserable. In some cases, allergies can be especially harmful to your health. For example, severe, untreated hay fever can lead to asthma and sinusitis. Untreated asthma can become chronic, so if you suffer from allergy symptoms, seek help right away.

MYTH: There’s no point in taking allergy medications because they all just become ineffective after awhile.
FACT: For most allergy medications, this isn’t true. What you think of as your body getting used to your medications could just be your allergies overpowering them—whether they’re over-the-counter or prescription. That said, a small segment of allergy medications could become ineffective, or make your condition worse if used too frequently.

MYTH: I only need to take allergy medications when I feel symptoms coming on.
FACT: While medications like antihistamines can work well if you take them after the start of symptoms, you’ll get the best results if you take them before your allergies are in full swing.

MYTH: If I’m allergic to something where I live, I can move to stop the symptoms.
FACT: If you move to another place, you’ll likely develop a whole new set of allergies. You may even be lulled into a false sense of security when these new allergies don’t surface right way. However, it can take months or years after moving somewhere to develop allergies.

MYTH: I can be cured of my allergies.
FACT: No magic pill exists. And since the tendency toward allergies is inherited, you shouldn’t focus on a cure; rather, take steps to control your allergies, such as early detection, medication and avoidance techniques like not going outside when pollen counts are high.

Make an appointment

If you would like to make an appointment with Prachee Jain, MD, at SouthPoint Internal Medicine, call 855-447-6926 or visit