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Myths about allergies

MYTH 1. ALLERGY TO GLUTEN

Is poplar fluff allergenic, hairless cats do not cause allergies, or perhaps children under one year old should not try peanut butter?

Many of our general ideas about allergies can turn out to be false. Let’s take a look at some of the statements and figure out what’s wrong with them.

Gluten allergy is one of the most common allergy myths today. Many people around the world are sure that they suffer from gluten allergy. Although in fact, according to research, less than 1% of people in the world suffer from a real allergy to gluten, that is, a reaction to allergenic proteins found in cereals (mainly wheat, less often rye and barley), and in some countries these figures may be even less – about 0.25%. Or there are no such patients at all. For example, in Denmark, gluten sensitivity has not been confirmed by studies.

Far more common than allergies is the so-called gluten intolerance. This disease is characterized by the appearance of negative symptoms after eating bread or other products made from wheat, rye or barley. Most of the symptoms are related to the digestive system, although headaches and mouth ulcers may occur. In this case, a person, as a rule, can eat small portions of gluten -containing foods.

A separate type of gluten intolerance is celiac disease. It is also often confused with allergies, but in fact it is an autoimmune disease that leads to atrophy of the villi in the intestines. At the same time, like an allergy, antibodies are formed to gliadin proteins in cereals. But if with true allergies it will be IgE antibodies , then with celiac disease we are talking about IgA and IgG antibodies .

MYTH 2. POPLAIN DOWN

Does poplar fluff cause allergies? No, at least not by itself.

Poplar fluff is actually not pollen, but already a seed that was formed as a result of pollination. In other words, several weeks pass from the period of poplar flowering, that is, its dusting, until the appearance of fluff. According to molecular diagnostics, only 0.4% of Ukrainians are directly sensitive to poplar pollen. Although, in some regions of the world, these figures can be much higher, for example, in New York and Mexico, where about 20% of the population is sensitized to the pollen of this tree.

As for fluff, it can rather act as a mechanical irritant of the nose or eyes, thus provoking sneezing or toothache. At the same time, poplar fluff can often carry pollen from other plants, such as cereals, and now Ukrainians are much more sensitive to them than to poplar pollen itself.

MYTH 3. CATS WITHOUT HAIR ARE SAFE FOR ALLERGICS

There is no such thing as a “hypoallergenic cat”. The same applies to dogs. Pets with or without hair cause allergies in almost the same way. Although there are articles on the Internet with a list of breeds of cats and dogs that seem to cause allergic reactions less often. But studies that show that one breed of cat is less allergenic than another simply do not exist.

In general, the protein that provokes allergic reactions in cats is called Fel d 1 and it is not found in wool, but in saliva, urine and dander of animals. The situation is similar with dogs. Their main allergen is called Can f 1 and, again, it is not found in wool.

However, it is worth noting that wool still plays a role, but it is unlikely that it is with allergies to pets. Like poplar down, animal hair can also accumulate foreign allergens, such as fungal spores and pollen.

But with regard to direct allergies to cats, studies show that the only way to reduce the production of an allergenic protein is castration. But this method works only with cats, but not with cats.

It is also not clear whether this method would be effective in the case of dogs, because one study showed that spaying had the opposite effect. But keeping the dog in the yard or at least in a separate room can help reduce allergy symptoms.

MYTH 4. YOU CAN’T EXPOSE YOUR CHILD TO ALLERGENS EARLY

Previously, indeed, it was believed that a child of the first year of life should not be given potentially allergenic products. But after some countries began to adhere to this setting, the number of new cases not only did not decrease, but, on the contrary, increased. Therefore, these recommendations were abandoned. Now it is believed that the sooner (within reason) the child gets acquainted with the allergen, the better. At the same time, the rule applies that, if possible, the first 6 months the child should be exclusively breastfed. But from 7 months it is already allowed to introduce the baby to such allergens as egg, fish and peanuts (in the form of paste). But cow’s milk is better to postpone until the child is a year old, or even two. This is due not only to allergic reactions to it, but also to the fact that it is poorly absorbed.

MYTH 5: ALLERGY TO EGGS CAN ALWAYS REACTION TO VACCINES

Many people who are allergic to eggs find that they cannot be vaccinated with certain vaccines because chick embryos may be used in their manufacture.

Such vaccines include, for example, vaccines against influenza, rabies, measles, yellow fever and mumps … But, according to WHO recommendations, even the presence of severe reactions to chicken protein or eggs is not a contraindication to vaccinations against influenza, measles and mumps. And even in the case of vaccination against yellow fever, vaccinations are allowed, but skin testing is carried out before the procedure. After that, depending on the reaction, the method of administering the vaccine is determined: single or fractional.

MYTH 6. IF YOU CONSTANTLY TAKE ANTIHISTAMINES, THEY WILL LOSE THEIR EFFICIENCY

There is an opinion that the constant use of antihistamines over time can reduce their effectiveness. This is another myth. A number of studies have shown that daily use of drugs that help fight allergy symptoms does not induce tolerance to them. Worsening of allergy symptoms despite using antihistamines may be due to misuse, a change in location, an intense pollen season, the wrong drug, or sensitivity to a new allergen.

Another thing is with some types of over-the-counter nasal sprays for nasal congestion. Their constant use, more than 3-5 days, can lead to the occurrence of drug-induced rhinitis.

MYTH 7. LOCAL HONEY CAN HELP RID OF ALLERGIES

It is an ancient belief that honey, made from pollen-sensitive plants, not only has some anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties, but can also relieve hay fever symptoms.

This theory is somewhat similar to the idea that underlies such a method of dealing with allergies as allergen-specific immunotherapy. Its essence lies in the fact that a person receives subcutaneous injections with a small amount of an allergen in order to develop tolerance to it.

Proponents of the honey theory believe that when bees collect nectar, they simultaneously transfer to honey and pollen. And it, just as in the case of immunotherapy, contributes to the development of tolerance towards oneself.

But, you need to understand that subcutaneous injections contain a significantly larger amount of active ingredient than pollen, which is present in a serving of honey. After all, the pollen that causes allergies, in general, is not the pollen of large and beautiful flowers from which bees collect honey.

The study found that consuming neither local honey, nor any other, provided any benefits compared to consuming a placebo.

MYTH 8. GOAT’S MILK AS A SUBSTITUTE OF COW’S

Many people think that goat’s milk is a great alternative for people who are allergic to cow’s milk. In fact, the allergenic proteins in the milk of cows and goats, as well as sheep, are similar. This means that a person with an allergy to cow’s milk is more likely to have a reaction to goat’s milk as well. There is evidence that only about 40% of children allergic to cow’s milk can tolerate goat’s milk.

If there is a need to replace cow’s milk, then it is better to choose mare’s or even donkey’s, the protein composition of which is different compared to cow’s.

MYTH 9: IODINE CONTRAST CAN WORSE SHELL ALLERGIES

Iodine is used in computed tomography (CT) contrast dyes because it provides better cross-sectional images of organs and vessels within the body.

Because shellfish contain iodine, many doctors believe that people with shellfish allergies should avoid iodine contrast agents. But scientists note that this is a myth, because iodine is also found in the human body. Although some people may develop symptoms of hypersensitivity to it.

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