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Allergies: Here's what you need to know and why what you know may be wrong

Spring is no fun for people who suffer from allergies. (Photo: Sinclair Cares)

BALTIMORE, Md. -- Spring was not something that Jennifer Smith looked forward to as a child.

"Miserable" is how she recalls it. "Not wanting to go outside and play."

Smith has a long list of allergies.

"I have allergies to dust mites, cats, dogs, all of your outside pollens, your grasses, your trees, your weed pollen."

She treats her allergies with shots and an over-the-counter medicine.

She also helps other allergy patients separate fact from fiction as an medical assistant to Dr. David Golden of LifeBridge Heath.

He lists some common myths.

Allergies are harmless.

"Anaphylaxis is a generalized total body allergic reaction to food or drugs or insect stings that can be life-threatening or fatal in some cases," Golden says.

The hypoallergenic dog.

That is fiction, Golden said.

"Hypoallergenic dogs do release less of the allergy protein that causes the allergy, but in time it still builds up," he said.

My house is spotless, so I couldn't possibly have dust allergies

"The cleanest most spotless home is still going to have dust mites in certain areas. My mattress, and your mattress and everybody's mattress in Baltimore has high levels of dust mites in it."

There some other things out there that sound like myths but are very real, including thunderstorm asthma.

It's a real thing and can be deadly for people with grass allergies.

"In Australia last year there were hundreds of emergency room admissions and some deaths because of thunderstorms. Because the thunderstorm basically breaks up all those grass particles and dissolves them in the moisture and throws it back down in the rain. So that rain in that thunderstorm is really grass soup," Golden said.

If you suffer from allergies, see a medical professional.


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