Like any health problem, there are many popular misconceptions about hay fever and allergies. Some of these myths are told to us by our parents, while others are spread around by friends and colleagues.
Here are just 5 of the common myths and misconceptions about hay fever, and the truth behind them.
Hay fever always starts when you’re a child
This one just isn’t true, as hay fever can strike at any age. This myth is popular because the symptoms of the condition do start in childhood or adolescence for many people, but hay fever-free adults can suddenly start developing symptoms in their 20s, 30s or 40s.
You only get hay fever in spring or summer
It’s true that the main trigger for allergic reactions – grass pollen – is released in spring and summer. However, other types of pollen can cause hay fever symptoms at all times of the year. Some people are allergic to a wide range of pollens, causing year-round symptoms.
Hay fever sufferers are only allergic to flowers
When we think of pollen, many people immediately think of flowers. While flowers do contain pollen, they are far from the only source of it. Some experts believe that as flower pollen is heavy and sticky, it is not as likely as other sources such as grass, trees and weeds to become airborne – this is when it reaches you.
If you have hay fever, you have it for life
In just the same way that hay fever can suddenly start, some sufferers can actually find that their symptoms lessen or even disappear as they get older. This means that hay fever isn’t a life sentence, and that it can go away on its own after several years.
All hay fever medication makes you drowsy
It used to be the case that medication for hay fever made you sleepy, but this is no longer the case. Unless you require antihistamines that make you drowsy (so that you can get a good night’s sleep, for example), you can now find a wide range of newer medications that don’t make you feel sleepy at all.