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Is Your Definition of Allergy Correct?


Allergy is a common issue in daily life and you should properly judge and deal with it.

 “I’m allergic to milk”, “I’m allergic to gluten”…Nowadays, more and more people become allergic to all kinds of different foods. The thing is, are you really allergic to certain foods? Well, some of them might be true, but the most of them are common myths and misconceptions coming from false information in the media and on the Internet. Some of the misconceptions will damage your health if vaccinations are skipped and extreme dietary avoidances are taken.

 “As medical research has been advanced continuously, many of the early medical beliefs are proven to be incorrect,” said allergist David Stukus, MD, ACAAI member and presenter. “Unfortunately, some of these misconceptions are still on the Internet, where a surprising 72% of the users turn to for health information.”

In his presentation, Dr. Stukus listed seven of the greatest allergy myths, and explained in general why they are false.

1. “I’m allergic to artificial dyes.”

By far, there is no scientific evidence to prove that there is a link between allergies and exposure to artificial coloring. Debate exists in regard of evidence for artificial dyes and behavioral changes in children. However, dyes might cause chronic urticarial and asthma.

2. “I’m allergic to eggs so I can’t have vaccines.”

It is true that we need to use egg embryos to grow viruses for vaccines like flue, rabies shots and yellow fever. However, nowadays it is safe to take the flu shot, which could actually prevent serious illness.

3.  “At-home blood tests can reveal all things that you are allergic to.”

As a matter of fact, these tests may be able to reveal sensitization, however, being sensitized to a certain allergen such as milk does not suggest that you are allergic. These at-home screening tests are not reliable and sometimes they may lead to misinterpretation, diagnostic confusion as well as unnecessary dietary elimination.

4.  “Don’t give highly allergenic foods to children until 12 months of age.”

For most kids, there is no scientific evidence to support avoidance of highly allergenic foods past four to six months of age. Instead, there are some new evidences showing that early introduction of these foods might promote tolerance.

5.  “I’m allergic to dogs and cats, but I can keep a hypoallergenic breed.”

Unfortunately, there is no such thing as a truly hypoallergenic cat or dog. The allergens are found in saliva, perianal glands and sebaceous glands. People are not allergic to the fur. It is correct that some breeds are less bothersome for allergy sufferers than others, so you might choose a suitable one.

6.  “I’m allergic to shellfish so I can’t have iodine imaging.”

Cardiologists and radiologists usually apply iodinated contrast during CT scans or other procedures for better imaging. Many physicians have connected a contrast reaction to a shellfish allergy since shellfish contain iodine. However, it is wrong and shellfish allergy has nothing to do with the reaction. As a matter of fact, iodine is not and can’t be an allergen when it appears in the human body.

7.  “I can’t eat bread because I’m allergic to gluten.”

In general cases, you have a gluten intolerance instead of a true allergy, which is very rare to see. Most of such allergic reactions stem from wheat. Some people label themselves as having gluten allergy and avoid gluten without any medical indication.

Our readers might want to ask that there are so much information widespread online through social media portals, how can I know what to believe and what not to believe?

It is actually pretty simple. When regarding allergy, if you can’t judge what it is, don’t settle down and turn to professionals for advice. “If you think you might have an allergy, you need to see a board-certified allergist for appropriate evaluation, testing, diagnosis and treatment,” said Dr. Stukus. “Misdiagnosis and improper treatment may be dangerous.”

Source: Eurekalert!