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10 common allergy myths

By: Katherine Butler on June 2, 2011, 7:54 a.m.
A man wearing glasses blows his nose while standing outside.

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When allergies attack

For many people, allergy season arrives with a shudder of sneezes. For doctors, this can mean a flurry of visits from confused patients disoriented from medications and myths. Misconceptions about the causes and symptoms of allergies are as abundant as fairy tales. Dr. Andrea Schmieg, a physician at Little Falls Family Practice in Falls Church, Virginia, says it’s common for allergy sufferers to misunderstand their ailments.

“I think it is confusing for patients as to when to get tested and how to get tested," she says. "First, there can be perplexity in the literature. Skin tests used to diagnose can be painful, while blood tests can cast too wide a net and result in false positives. Other tests are often not reimbursed by insurance companies.” Here’s a look at some of the more common allergy misconceptions in need of a good myth busting. (As always, consult the advice of a physician about any allergic reactions.)