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Sinclair Cares | Common allergy myths

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More than 50 million Americans suffer from allergies each year.

Since May is Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month, we are taking a look at some common myths about allergies and some facts that may surprise you.

When Spring blooms, most of us head outdoors, but Jennifer Smith remembers her childhood much differently.

“Miserable not wanting to go outside and play,” Smith said.

Smith has a laundry list of allergies.

“I have allergies to dust mites, cats, dogs, all of your outside pollens, your grasses, your trees, your weed pollens,” Smith said.

Today, her allergies are treated with shots and an over the counter medication.

As a medical assistant in the office of allergist Dr. David Golden, she helps patients sort out fact from fiction.

In 40 years of practice, Dr. Golden has heard it all.

“I think so. but they always surprise me,” Dr. Golden said.

Myth #1: Allergies are harmless.

“Anaphylaxis is a generalized total body allergic reaction to food or drugs or insect stings that can be life threatening or fatal in some cases,” Dr. Golden said.

Myth #2: The hypoallergenic dog.

“Fiction,” Dr. Golden said. “Hypoallergenic dogs do release less of the allergy protein that causes the allergy, but in time it still builds up.”

Myth #3: My house is spotless, so I couldn't possibly have dust allergies.

“The cleanest most spotless home is still going to have dust mites in certain areas,” Dr. Golden said.

“My mattress, and your mattress and everybody's mattress in Baltimore has high levels of dust mites in it.”

In addition to the myths that are out there, there are also a few things that may sound like fiction, but are actually fact.

Like thunderstorm ashthma.

It's a real thing, and can be deadly for people with grass allergies.

“In Australia last year there were hundreds of emergency room admissions and some deaths, because of thunderstorm,” Dr. Golden said. “Because the thunderstorm basically breaks up all those grass particles and dissolves them in the moisture and throws it back down in the rain, so that rain in that thunderstorm is really grass soup.”

Bottom line, if you suffer from allergies, it's best to see a professional, not just to improve the quality of your life, but to possibly save it.

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