Posted by: Ticktock | April 24, 2009

NPR TOTN Science Friday – Allergy Myths

Talk of the Nation: Science Friday was about allergy myths today.  Every year, it seems like there is more and more discomfort with allergy sufferers, including myself.  So, I’m glad that NPR tackled the issue with experts Michael Kaliner, Calman Prussin, and Jay Portnoy.  Here are some gems from the episode:

  • Going to a chiropractor will not help your allergies whatsoever.
  • Neti pots seem to be helpful based on the anecdotes of patients. Half of the patients may feel uncomfortable sticking something in their nose.  I also tease my wife while she pours the nettie pot into her nose, and she ends up choking on saline from laughing so hard.

    " 'ello love, would you like a spot of Earl Grey?"

    " 'ello love, would you like a spot of Earl Grey?"

  • The pollen count is not as bad this year as other years.  If you want to know how much pollen is floating around, you can go here.
  • Different antihistamines work for different people, but usually one of the OTC remedies will work fine once you find the right one for yourself.
  • The fronts that precede thunderstorms stir up extra pollen, so allergies are worse before a storm.
  • Studies show that, at a young age, dirtier environments such as daycares and farms are correlated with less allergies later in life.
  • Local honey is… “sweet”.  The experts said that honey is pollen-free, so it’s a false premise that they can work like vaccines.  It’s an ineffective treatment.
  • A caller asked about her success with neuromodulation and NAET.  The experts said that alternative treatments should undergo placebo-controlled testing.  Asthma sufferers respond well to placebos.



  1. Great post. Reminds me of a friend who swears his chiro “cured” not only his, but his whole family’s allergies with some woo I looked up on Quackwatch. The site said to report the chiro to the Attorney General!

  2. “Asthma sufferers respond well to placebos”

    Not any MORE we don’t!

  3. I can’t say enough good things about the Nettie Pot. I don’t suffer from allergies, but we have had our share of colds this year and nothing clears out my sinuses and makes me feel better fast like flushing all that icky virus (and slime) out of my nasal passage with the nettie pot. It works way better than just regular nose spray, but I wouldn’t try it on my little kids. They wouldn’t understand the physics of it well enough to not swallow the saline, I think. Thumbs up on the nettie pot for sure!

  4. […] moons ago, I wrote that ‘Neti Pots’ are surprisingly useful for draining sinuses. I was, of course, […]

  5. I remember listening to TOTN Science Friday and a guest stated that there was a study that found that allergy sufferers had a worse quality of life than cancer patients. How would I find that study?

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