Allergic Rhinitis: The 4 Dangerous Myths
Many friends and people I know who have allergic rhinitis shared their stories about their condition and the most common complaint that they have is the lack of sleep. They said that even that they have made sure that their sheets are clean; it will get triggered just before they wanted to rest and that’s what makes it more challenging for them. We know what lack of sleep can do to a person and we all know that it’s a matter that we need to take seriously. Be sure to check out our article that tackles the correlation of Sleep and Allergy.
What is Allergic Rhinitis?
Before we begin, let me just clarify that there are two types of Rhinitis, allergic and non-allergic, but we’re going to focus with allergic rhinitis only and to give brief information about these 2 types of rhinitis, the allergic type involves the immune system and the non-allergic type does not. Symptoms like nasal congestion and runny nose may last all year round for non-allergic rhinitis as opposed to allergic rhinitis.
Just like any other allergies, allergic rhinitis is triggered by allergens like pollen, dust, dust mites, pet dander, and strong smells whether it’s good or a bad one. It involves the immune system where it mistakenly identifies harmless substances as intruders and it responds by releasing histamines and other chemical mediators that cause symptoms like runny nose, nasal congestion, itchy eyes, mouth, or skin, and even fatigue.
Allergic Rhinitis Myths
Let’s accept that there are people who choose to believe in myths rather than the truth and sadly, serious issues like allergies and other health conditions are not safe from it. There are dangers hiding behind this non-scientific or unproven knowledge regarding a particular health condition so let’s try to clarify them one by one. Before we start, I just wanted to clarify that what we included in our lists are not meant to replace any medical or professional opinion.
Myth #1: Allergic rhinitis is triggered by hay and the main symptom is fever
Though this is a creative and simple way to look at it, this is not the case. Allergic rhinitis is also popularly known as hay fever but it’s not triggered by hay nor has a fever as its main symptoms. Pollen from grass, weeds, and trees are the most common triggers of it and symptoms like a clogged nose, runny nose, teary eyes, and all that we mentioned above are its known symptoms. Yes, It’s not farfetched if one of these symptoms brings fever so better consult your doctor if it persists.
Myth #2: Pollen from flowers are the only pollen that can trigger allergic rhinitis
Most pollen from flowers is big, heavy, and sticky, that it will require help from bees and birds to spread it. Normally, these pollens are not easily carried by wind and travel only near so you don’t have to worry about it. However, there are flowers that have small pollens like Amaranth (pigweed), chamomile, chrysanthemums, daisies, goldenrod, and ordinary sunflowers so it’s best practice to always monitor pollen count and ensure that you wear necessary protections before going outdoors.
Myth #3: Allergic Rhinitis is harmless
This belief is really dangerous as it may cause people to not take it seriously. We mentioned above that the most common complaints from people suffering from allergic rhinitis are lack of sleep and this reason alone is enough to not treat AR as harmless. Lack of sleep brings daytime sleepiness, fatigue, affects your mind and bodily functions. For adults, it may affect the quality of work and may cause work-related injuries. For kids at school, it may affect their performance as a lack of sleep may cause poor memory that may later affect examination results. Studies also show that those with allergic rhinitis and asthma are more likely to develop eczema and other skin conditions so think about this domino effect first before we conclude that allergic rhinitis is harmless.
Myth #4: Smoking does not trigger allergic rhinitis
We opted to separate this trigger to put emphasis on it. If you still believe that smoking or second-hand smoke doesn’t trigger AR then you are greatly mistaken. Babies whose parents are smokers have the highest percentage to develop AR and asthma and those children or adults exposed to second or third-hand smoke may still develop AR and asthma too. So to emphasize again, smoking does not only trigger allergic rhinitis and asthma, it can cause it.
AAAAI – https://www.aaaai.org/conditions-and-treatments/allergies/rhinitis
Medline – https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/000813.htm
ASCIA – https://www.allergy.org.au/patients/about-allergy/common-myths-about-allergy-and-asthma-exposed
ACAAI – https://acaai.org/allergies/types/hay-fever-rhinitis