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Allergy fact or fiction? Busting myths about your allergies

Brought to you by Kleenex - TWN V2

Wednesday, May 25th 2022, 10:00 am - Spring allergy season has sprung here in Canada… and it’s nothing to sneeze at.

When it comes to allergy season - you’ve probably heard and tried it all! But not this time.

Let's 'clear the air' and bust some of the most common myths surrounding your allergies. How many can you guess correctly?

If you have seasonal allergies, you understand the irritation it can have on your body, from sneezing, to itchy throats, allergies can get in the way of everyday life. The one positive? You don’t have to suffer from allergies alone!

In fact, according to Statistics Canada, 27 per cent of Canadians have been diagnosed with allergies as of 2017 — that's roughly 8.4 million people.

With a large amount of people facing allergens everyday, it’s important to rummage through the rumors and get accurate information about your allergies.

Fact or Fiction?

'Pollen and grass are the most common allergens'

Fact! If you’re frustrated over a runny or stuffy nose, itchy and swelling eyes, it may be time to point the finger at pollen. Pollen and grass allergens are the most popular among Canadians (hooray!). Out of roughly 8.4 million people diagnosed with allergies, about 40 per cent of them are allergic to pollen or grasses above other allergens like animal dander, dust mites, and so on.

Stats Canada allergies chart (Credit: Statistics Canada)

'Pollen counts can predict bad allergy days'

Fact! We've already learned that pollen is popular, so why not keep up with it? In general, levels of pollen can correlate directly with symptom severity. The good news is that you can easily track pollen-counts online before heading out the door. This allergy season, make sure to monitor pollen levels so you know when to limit your exposure on days where counts are high. Pollen tracking technology can also give you detailed information about the types of pollen you can expect for today and the days ahead. Watch out for tree pollen in the spring season and grass pollen in the summer months.

Getty Images - Pollen (Credit: Getty Images)

'Sneezing into your hands is no big deal'

Fiction! When you feel a sneeze coming on, grab a tissue and leave your bare hands out of it.

While allergies are not contagious, the mucus you expel from your nose and mouth can carry bacteria that spread airborne illnesses to others. Sneezing into your hands creates an opportunity for those germs to be passed on.

To keep yourself and others healthy, it’s best to cover your nose and mouth with a soft tissue that is gentle on skin, hypoallergenic and helps soothe sore noses.

Getty Images: Woman sneezing into tissue during allergy season (Credit: Getty Images)

'Hay fever is not a real thing'

Fiction! Just ask anyone suffering from spring allergies. Hay fever is the real deal, and despite its name, hay fever has nothing to do with hay specifically. Allergic rhinitis, also called hay fever, is an allergic reaction from indoor and outdoor allergens that causes cold-like symptoms such as sneezing, congestion, itchy nose and sore throat.

If you’re looking to combat hay fever, it’s a good idea to vacuum the house regularly to get rid of dust mites, protect your eyes from pollen by wearing sunglasses and change your clothes if you've been exposed to an allergen.

Getty Images - allergies, allergy season, pollen (Credit: Getty Images)

'You can cure your allergies'

Fiction! Unfortunately, there is no cure for allergies, however, there are effective treatments to help Canadians live active lives despite pollen.

It’s always best to check with your family physician before using treatments like antihistamine pills, nasal steroid sprays and eye drops that can help alleviate allergy symptoms caused by pollen, dust mites and pet dander. If you have been diagnosed with a certain allergy, you can always prepare your body ahead of time by taking effective treatments before symptoms arrive.

As we have learned, allergens impact many Canadians and they’re not going away anytime soon. We hope with these allergy facts and falsehoods, people can better approach the inevitable allergy season head-on, and with confidence!

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