Allergy myths decoded

One in five people in the United States suffers from allergies, but there are many misconceptions that surround some of the most common ones.

Dr. Mark Schecker, allergist at Coastal Carolina Allergy and Asthma Associates, tells us what's fact and what's fiction about the ones he hears most often.

1.) "I'm allergic to that."

-"You're immune system has to be involved. It's usually a specific antibody involved with a true allergy. It's called IGE. Most people don't have much IGE in their system. People with allergies produce more of it, and they produce it specifically to certain substances that they shouldn't that are harmless, pollen, dust, animal danders, etc.," Dr. Shecker said.

2.) "I own a hypoallergenic dog."

-"All dogs are capable of being allergenic. The allergen is usually produced in the dander, saliva and urine. People may be allergic to different breeds of dogs and not allergic to others," Dr. Shecker said.

3.) "I can't get a flu shot because I'm allergic to eggs."

-"It does seem that over the years, the manufacturers of the vaccines have produced a vaccine that contains very, very little egg protein. So it's probably below the threshold to cause problems. So we've been able to administer that to many people who thought they couldn't have it," Dr. Schecker said.

4.) "I'm allergic to gluten."

-"There are people that have gluten sensitivity in particular, Celiac disease. That's not a true allergy in the sense that I discussed with you earlier. It doesn't involve that same component of the immune system, but it does involve the immune system. So it's similar to allergies," Dr. Schecker said.

5.) "I've outgrown my allergy."

"Once you have the genetic capabilities to have allergies, that doesn't seem to go away. Some people's allergies may go into remission, and sometimes that remission is lifelong," Dr. Schecker said.


He said the best way to find out if you're truly allergic to a substance is to get skin tested at your allergist's office.