Originally posted on WJHG News Channel on 4/15/23

From that pollen on your car to the mold by your sink, there are common misconceptions about your allergies.

“People blame all the yellow powdery substance on their cars for our allergies and that’s really too big to affect our airways,” Doctor Maxcie Sikora said.

She’s an allergist with Allervie Health, serving patients throughout the Panhandle.

She says tree pollen, specifically oak pollen, is the most common allergen this time of year. “When you guys post the pollen counts on your television station, the way that count is actually provided is people that count pollen actually look at it under a microscope,” she explained.

Doctor Sikora doesn’t recommend pollen allergy sufferers to open their windows. Keeping your air conditioner’s filter fresh not only helps it work better, but it helps you too.

“Back to mold, people often think that if they have mold in their bathroom or mold around their windows like we do in the south when there’s a lot of condensation build-up, that doesn’t always mean that it’s affecting your allergies,” she said. “Mold is outdoors as part of our environment all the time, especially in humid warm areas and so we do have outdoor mold present year-round, and the mold spores are small enough to some of them are not all, but some of them are allergens,” she added.

“Pet dander is actually their skin, their hair, and their saliva, so dogs and cats that don’t shed, they still have a potential for allergenicity, so there’s unfortunately no such thing as a hypoallergenic pet, but there are less allergenic pets in the respect that if they, if they don’t shed, they don’t create as much of the dander in their environment,” she explained.

She revealed a dirty truth about what makes dust an allergen. “This is disgusting, so I will just say it. The fecal matter of the mite collects in the dust. So, it’s their poop, but it collects in bedding, carpeting, and upholstery materials,” she said.

She also clarified that perfume and cigarette smoke are considered an irritant, versus an allergen, so your allergy medicine may not help you with it.

“Just after your outdoor activities, if you have a chance taking a bath or a shower and washing your hair,” she urged as a way to keep allergens out of your bed and lounging areas. She recommends allergen covers on your pillows and mattresses and washing your sheets in hot water at least once a week.

Dr. Sikora also clarified the use of local honey for allergies, a belief many grandparents pass down to their children and grandchildren. “Some of it is obviously digested in your stomach and that pollen is digested in your stomach, so it’s hard to really know how much of the honey you actually need to create a tolerance to the pollen that you’re ingesting from your local area, but as a great treatment for just general inflammation and, like I love it for laryngitis. It’s a great fix for laryngitis and for cough.”

She says it’s best to get an allergy test to get the most effective treatment and allergy tests are likely covered by your insurance.