Right now, with pollen hitting every spring, there are a lot of common allergy myths on the platform. (Allergies are generally a hot topic at the moment, with one creator even writing a song about allergy season to the beat of SZA’s “Big Boy.”) for them.
“I think many people feel that their allergies get worse every year and seem to last a lot,” says Leslie Gonzalez, MD, family medicine physician and partner at Zyrtec. so they are eager to get advice to help ease their symptoms. It’s true: According to allergists, there really isn’t such a thing as “allergy season” anymore because allergies have become a year-round struggle for many people.
At the same time, distinguishing fact from fiction when it comes to your health is paramount to your well-being. Dr. Gonzalez shares some examples of bad advice you might see (and good advice to follow instead).
Myth 1: Your allergy is actually a “leaky gut”
Gut health content is also booming on TikTok right now, but, despite the thoughts of some creators, it’s not always the content that causes all of your problems. Dr. Gonzalez explains that malabsorption, in which your digestive tract has trouble absorbing nutrients from food, is a problem; However, contrary to some of TikTok’s advice, it’s not the same as allergies.
“Allergies, both in terms of symptoms and treatment, are completely different,” she says. “Allergies are the result of a chemical chain reaction that releases histamine in response to exposure to an allergen that leads to the symptoms we’re used to.”
Also, because allergies can quickly turn into a sinus infection, it’s best to treat those symptoms right away (such as sore throat, runny nose, stuffy nose that makes breathing difficult, sneezing, or itchy eyes, and nose).
Myth 2: You need to eliminate dairy from your diet
According to Dr. Gonzalez, this tip does not completely no merit, just unnecessary, especially to such an extreme point. “Milk can sometimes cause an increase in mucus in the body,” she says. “I don’t recommend this as a solution for seasonal allergies, but more than that, you should try it if you have a bad cold or cough, as tons of dairy sometimes make it worse.”
She adds that eliminating dairy isn’t the key to getting your itchy and watery eyes; itchy nose and throat; or similar symptoms (although some fruits and vegetables can cause seasonal allergies, keep you informed!). Side note: Eliminating your favorite yogurt and cheese won’t make big changes to your gut, either.
Myth 3: A spoonful of local honey is a panacea
This myth is another slippery slope that isn’t as helpful as some TikTok creators might lead you to believe — for a number of reasons, Dr. Gonzalez said. “If you’re not buying the right kind of honey, meaning the one that contains the main allergens you’re allergic to (which can be difficult to pinpoint), it’s not going to help,” she says. “And even if it’s raw local honey, there’s no guarantee it will relieve symptoms.” She explains that the type of pollen that bees convert into honey is often not the same as the type that causes seasonal allergies (specifically, trees, grasses, and weeds). “Honey is great for your tea, toast, or even a treat, but not for allergies!”
Myth 4: Slapping cold food on your face is the solution
Several creators have shared videos of them reaching into the fridge or freezer to grab something like a can of cold soda or a frozen spoon, then touch around their eye area. “Instead of placing (possibly non-sterilized) items from the fridge/freezer on your face, I recommend washing or rinsing your eyes and face frequently throughout the day with cold water or a cold compress instead,” says Dr. position. . “Keeping your face and eye area clean and allergen-free in the long run will help more than just applying a cool object temporarily.”
So what are some *really* helpful allergy tips?
For proven and effective ways to treat your bothersome allergy symptoms, Dr. Gonzalez has some recommendations for what to do instead:
1. Keep hands and body clean
For the record, we know you’ve probably already done this, but it doesn’t hurt to be reminded! Dr. Gonzalez notes that showering is especially important if you spend time outdoors. And she encourages changing clothes after gardening.
2. Keep your space clean and well-ventilated
Repeat after us (and Dr. Gonzalez): Vacuum daily, dust regularly. Additionally, she mentions washing bed sheets regularly and considering reducing fabrics that allergens can cling to. For example, if possible, replace your carpet with hardwood floors.
She also recommends improving ventilation and replacing HVAC filters more often than recommended, especially when your allergy symptoms are most severe.
3. Pay attention to how much time and time you spend outdoors
Dr. Gonzalez says: When the wind is strong or the pollen count is high—early morning, for example—stay indoors if you can. Not sure how to check the pollen count? Dr. Gonzalez recommends Zyrtec’s AllergyCast app, saying it “provides access to personalized allergy forecasts, live pollen counts, and symptom monitoring tools to help people with allergies overtake their allergies.”
4. Take medicine when necessary
Although you don’t need to take it first, you should take it as soon as possible after symptoms appear. “I recommend that my patients take Zyrtec immediately at the first sign of an allergic reaction, then continue taking it throughout the season as needed,” Dr. Gonzalez said. (Just for you, Zyrtec is the number one allergist-recommended brand of over-the-counter oral antihistamines, although others — such as Allegra and Claritin — also work. .)
“[It] starts working in the first hour, provides a full 24 hours of prescription pain relievers so allergy sufferers can enjoy the whole day without worrying about allergy symptoms getting in the way… and works fast sometimes use it again the next day,” she adds.
Overall, Dr. Gonzalez warns against trusting everything you see on the internet. “Make sure you’ve trusted that advice and always consult a medical professional for guidance on your health.”