14/08/2014 12:44 BST | Updated 20/05/2015 06:12 BST

Allergies And Their Myths, Debunked

When the pollen count is high, a fifth of the UK population will suffer from one of the most common allergies - hay fever.

Although the symptoms - itchy eyes, sneezing, congestion - make it clear our bodies are reacting to allergens, finding a solution to relieve these ailments isn't so easy, particularly when many of the remedies are perceived to be myths.


Robin Wilson, an ambassador for the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, debunked a few of the misconceptions around allergy relief to Refinery 29, starting with the benefit of vitamin C.

This isn't a myth - it's important for allergy sufferers to include the vitamin in their diets, as it lowers the level of histamine in the body.

However, as Wilson explains, "Fruit is not your friend."

Many fruits "can cause symptoms similar to grass or tree pollen reactions if you're sensitive," she says. "If so, place the fruit in the microwave for 10 seconds to deactivate the proteins, and never eat the peel."

When it comes to dust, it's true a clean house will keep sneezing at bay, although this doesn't mean you have to get the hoover out twice a day.

"A little exposure to dirt and germs is actually a good thing, because it strengthens the immune system," says Wilson. Phew.

The idea a pillowcase is enough to protect you from dust mites though, shouldn't be believed.

Wilson recommends using hypoallergenic pillows instead of down pillows, as well as a "zippered pillow protector that you wash weekly for a double barrier." It's also important to wash pillows twice a year and replace them every three years.

Finally, try swapping air fresheners for soy candles with no scent. These will "burn cleaner" and won't aggravate any allergies.

Hay fever cures: five alternative remedies