Melissa Dahl is aiming to bust some myths about allergies:

Two truths about allergies that may blow your mind: Bo Obama isn’t a hypoallergenic dog, and nobody is actually “allergic” to gluten.

These are just two examples of the myths allergists would very much like to bust, according to a presentation being given today at the annual meeting of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. Dr. David Stukus put the presentation together after years of patients coming to him with fiercely held, but totally incorrect, beliefs about allergies — something that’s only gotten worse in this age of medical Googling.


Regarding the President’s dog:

Actually, there is no such thing as a hypoallergenic pet, Stukus says, because “every single pet will secrete allergens.” And it doesn’t make much of a difference if the pet has short or long hair, because the dander that people are allergic to doesn’t come from the fur – it comes from the animal’s saliva, sweat glands and urine. Even expensive, genetically engineered pets still secrete minor allergens, Stukus said.


This next myth was believed for so long that many children were denied the protection of an annual flu shot.  Not anymore:

Myth 4: If you have an egg allergy, you should never get a flu shot.

This is a hot topic right now, Stukus says, as it is every flu season. Allergists understand the confusion: Egg embryos from chickens are indeed used to grow viruses in the production of several vaccines, like influenza, rabies, yellow fever and MMR. So these vaccines may indeed include tiny bits of egg protein, which sounds worrisome to someone with an egg allergy (or the parent of a kid with an egg allergy).

But unless people have a history of a severe reaction called anaphylaxis in response to eating eggs, flu shots are safe for people with egg allergies. Even in people who have severe allergic reactions to egg, the vaccine is still likely to be safe, but a referral to an allergist is recommended before getting a flu shot. (An egg-free vaccine, called Flublok, is also now available.)

As for the other major vaccinations — MMR is safe for anyone with a history of egg allergy, but rabies and yellow fever are not.


More allergy myths busted here.