Posted on Jul 7, 2016 1:00pm PDT

Make no mistake - the number of allergy sufferers around the world has risen, especially among the millennial generation. There have been many myths and theories surrounding allergies, and at the Center for Allergy and Asthma of Georgia, we hear them all.

Many patients bring their concerns to doctors and allergists, based on some theory that has little to no scientific proof. Rather, they are based more on these myths. Here we explore some of the most common myths we hear from patients about allergies.

Myth #1: Frequent infections in childhood protect against allergies.

This theory came about with the idea that being exposed to certain bacteria, infections, or illnesses can protect against allergies. This came about when a study arose in the late 1980’s that found larger families exposed to hay fever were better protected than smaller families, where there were fewer people to whom infection could spread. Unfortunately, there is no scientific basis for the theory that infections protect against allergies.

Myth #2: Allergies aren’t life threatening.

This is a dangerous myth, and simply false. Although fatal allergic reactions are not overly common, they can and do happen across the country regularly. Some people with extreme sensitivities to substances and allergens can experience reactions known as anaphylactic shock, which causes blood pressure to lower, the tongue or throat to swell, and airways to constrict. These reactions are serious and necessitate immediate medical attention. Protect yourself and your loved ones by seeking qualified and proactive allergy treatment, including steps on how to use epinephrine when emergencies arise.

Myth #3: Children outgrow allergies.

While some children may outgrow allergies to certain foods, including milk, soy, and eggs, many children do not. This is especially true with peanut and tree nut allergies, where only roughly 20% of children outgrow their allergies. Additionally, allergic rhinitis – which can cause itchiness, sneezing, and postnasal drainage – commonly persists throughout a person’s life. If you have a child with allergies, take them for regular treatment to better understand their needs and manage symptoms as they grow.

Myth #4: Chemicals cause allergies.

Cleaning products, makeup, soap - look at the labels of everyday items and you may be surprised to find that many of them are comprised of chemicals. These chemicals have long been believed to cause allergic reactions in people. Yet, believe it or not, most allergens are actually caused by naturally occurring elements in the environment. This includes pollen, dust, and insect bites, to name a few, as well as food allergies such as dairy, eggs, nuts, and more.

If you are suffering from allergies and would like to get down to the bottom of the case, do not hesitate to speak with our board-certified Atlanta allergists. Book your appointment today!