Honey is a unique natural food product, which was presented to mankind by Mother Nature. It is used for food, as well as for the prevention and treatment of a number of diseases (ODS, stomach ulcers, inflammation of various etiologies), and in cosmetology. The delicacy increases immunity, since the composition contains a large amount of trace elements and biologically active substances.
Unfortunately, in addition to the benefits, the consumption of nectar can harm human health. Allergy to honey is the main side effect, which, according to statistics, is found in 1% of the world’s population.
Why honey is allergic
The causes of allergic reactions are not the end product of beekeeping, but the nectar secreted by plants – honey plants, bee bread, particles of plant pollen, saliva and insect venom.
Allergens get into honey with “errors” in the production technology, insufficient cleaning of the hives from the waste products of bees and non-observance of hygiene standards in bee dwellings (chitin mite shells, fungal spores, dust and other biological impurities are found in the product), during the treatment of honeycombs with chemical agents …
Falsification. Unscrupulous beekeepers add cane sugar (strong allergen) or sugar syrup to a pure product to enhance the taste.
Can bees be allergic to honey when treating bees with antibiotics? Yes, if the patient has a history of allergic reactions to this group of medications.
Causes of allergies
The body produces an atypical reaction when the immune system identifies the allergen as a foreign element and “turns on” the defense.
Allergy to bee products can occur not only as a result of their ingestion, but also through contact with the skin during cosmetic procedures.
In the pathogenesis (mechanism of the onset and development of the disease), allergies, according to doctors, the following reasons play a leading role:
- Hereditary predisposition at the genetic level.
- Hypersensitivity to some components (sensitization) in honey.
- “Unripe” bee product.
- Exceeding the daily intake of a sweet treat. For an adult, it is no more than 150-200 grams per day.
- Chronic diseases (diabetes mellitus, pancreatitis, asthma, obesity).
- Metabolic disease.
Manifestations of an allergic reaction are possible with rosacea (capillary “mesh” and spider veins on the face). Honey activates blood circulation, as a result, the load on the circulatory system and the oversaturation of blood vessels with biologically active substances causes allergic dermatitis.
Signs and forms of expression of allergy to honey
To determine how an allergy to honey or its derivatives (propolis, bee bread, zabrus) manifests itself, symptoms such as:
- On the part of the respiratory system: sore throat, dry cough, shortness of breath, shortness of breath, runny nose.
- From the side of the organs of vision: redness of the eyes, swelling of the eyelids, lacrimation.
- From the digestive tract (gastrointestinal tract),: nausea, vomiting, indigestion.
- On the part of the skin: urticaria, atopic dermatitis, edema, blisters.
Allergy, depending on the severity of the course of the disease, can manifest itself as individual symptoms or a combination of the listed symptoms.
Allergic reactions to the “sweet” medicine are more susceptible to certain groups of people suffering from hay fever (an atypical reaction to pollen of flowers and plants – honey plants).
Stages of manifestation
The body’s defense reaction to factors provoking food allergy to the waste products of bees conventionally has three degrees of expression: mild, moderate and severe.
First of all, young children are at risk. Up to three years old, the baby’s body is not sufficiently adapted to the production of its own antibodies, therefore, an atypical reaction to products containing honey is possible.
Weak immunity, chronic rhinitis and asthma increase the likelihood of a severe form of allergy in children to the waste products of bees in a severe form.
Allergy to honey in a child can be inherited, so pregnant and breastfeeding women who are prone to allergic reactions should follow a strict diet.
It is not safe for babies to abuse the “natural treat”. The daily norm for a healthy child is 30 grams.
Signs of allergy in a child appear within half an hour, after the ingestion of bee products. The severity of symptoms depends on the reaction of the body, and is divided into mild, moderate and severe.
The initial reaction of the child’s body to the allergen is expressed in redness of the cheeks and a small red rash on the back, chest, elbow and knee bends. Disorders from the gastrointestinal tract (diarrhea, bloating) are possible.
Itching and redness of the eyes, profuse tearing, runny nose, dry paroxysmal cough, sore throat are signs of an atypical reaction to bee products.
A moderate degree of allergy to honey is expressed in the spread of a rash throughout the child’s body, fever, headache, increased sweating, and swelling of the skin. On the part of the digestive system – vomiting, loose stools.
The danger of the third degree of severity of an atypical reaction to honey lies in the fact that frequent intermittent cough, swelling of the mucous membranes of the throat, tongue, lips, making it difficult for the child to breathe, a sharp rise in temperature (up to 39 degrees), and a decrease in blood pressure are added to the above symptoms. The child is tormented by thirst, itching of the body.
The manifestation of symptoms warns of the danger of the rapid development of Quincke’s edema, which poses a threat to the baby’s life, therefore, emergency medical attention is needed.
Honey should be introduced into the child’s diet no earlier than seven years.
Allergy to honey in adults is similar to the symptoms of the disease in children.
In the initial stage, the skin is the first to react to the allergen. The patient may experience itching all over the body, accompanied by the formation of red spots (urticaria).
Conjunctivitis with itching of the cornea and redness of the whites of the eyes.
Sore throat, dry paroxysmal cough, frequent sneezing, runny nose, shortness of breath – a reaction to an allergen from the respiratory system.
Nausea, bloating, abdominal pain, stool disorder, – malfunction of the digestive tract (gastrointestinal tract).
Moderate severity of the disease is expressed by severe tearing, swelling of the lower and upper eyelids (in some cases, the eyes completely “swell”). Swelling of the mucous membranes of the larynx and nasal congestion make it difficult to breathe and cause shortness of breath.
Headaches, a sharp drop in blood pressure, tinnitus are possible.
The body is covered with a rash, red spots. In some cases, blisters may appear on the skin.
In difficult cases of a negative reaction of the body to honey, the above symptoms are exacerbated. An allergic person suffers from itching of the skin, hyperemia (redness of the skin of the face), fever, chills. Swelling of the mucous membranes, tongue, lips, laryngeal tissues, severe chest pains make breathing difficult. The rapid development of the disease can lead to anaphylactic shock (an immediate allergic reaction), and Quincke’s edema, which can be fatal. Emergency medical intervention can save the patient’s life.
To find out how the body reacts to the use of bee products (for food, medicinal or cosmetic purposes), it is necessary to conduct a study at home:
- A small amount of bee treats should be applied to the inside of the fold of the arm at the elbow. If the skin remains clean within 20 – 30 minutes, then there is no allergic reaction.
- A teaspoon of honey is kept under the tongue until it is completely dissolved. The absence of negative reactions indicates the complete tolerance of honey by the body.
A blood test is a reliable method for studying the level of concentration of immunoglobulins E to proteins that cause allergies.
Laboratory skin tests (an allergen extract is applied to an incision in the skin) will help determine which type of honey provokes an atypical reaction in the body.
How to treat honey allergy
Treatment for honey allergy depends on the degree of manifestation of the atypical reaction to bee products. Mild to moderate disease can be treated at home or on an outpatient basis. In severe cases that threaten the patient’s life, immediate hospitalization is required.
Before starting treatment, it is necessary to determine the severity of the course of the disease. An examination by a dermatologist and laboratory tests will help diagnose an allergy to honey.
Therapy with modern allergy drugs in the mild and medium stages, easily relieves the symptoms of the disease.
Antihistamines (antiallergic), drugs (Suprastin, Tavegil, Claritin), in the form of suppositories, syrups or tablets, eliminate signs of urticaria and atopic dermatitis, relieve swelling of the mucous membranes and skin.
Absorbents (Activated carbon, Enterosgel, Polysorb, Laktofiltrum, Polyphepan), a group of drugs that bind particles of allergens and remove foreign agents from the body. With their help, nausea, vomiting stops, and intestinal function is normalized.
To eliminate the negative manifestations of the disease on the skin, hormonal (Mesoderm, Akriderm) and non-hormonal (Tsindol, zinc ointment) are used. For children, the use of Fenistil gel or Gistan ointment is recommended.
Nasal drops or sprays with an antihistamine effect actively fight allergic rhinitis and itching in the nasopharynx (Tizin, Nasonex).
Diuretic (diuretics), means (Furosemide, Teva “Triampur Compositum”), will remove excess fluid and relieve swelling.
Antiallergic therapy is carried out after consultation and under the supervision of the attending physician.
Moisturizers can help restore skin softness and get rid of traces of hives.
Preventing honey allergy at home
In medicine, there is a saying: “The best method of treating a disease is its prevention!” Professionally selected therapy should be supported by methods that support the patient’s body:
- Diet, with the exception of dishes containing bee products from the menu;
- abolition of cosmetic procedures and decorative cosmetics based on bee products;
- to strengthen the immune system, doctors recommend hardening and breathing exercises aimed at cleansing the broncho-pulmonary system.
Allergy sufferers need to carry emergency supplies in case of a sudden attack (antihistamines).
How to treat honey allergy with folk methods
Traditional therapy is an alternative to medication treatment. In the “piggy bank” of healers collected a large number of recipes to combat allergic reactions to bee products.
An infusion for oral administration and a solution for external use (compresses and lotions) are prepared from the healing series, which has an anti-inflammatory effect.
- Pour 10 – 15 grams of dry herb with 200 ml. water.
- Incubate for 10 – 20 minutes in a water bath.
- After the herb is infused, dilute the concentrate with 100 ml. boiled water and cool.
Take the mixture 2 – 3 times a day, 1 tablespoon.
By the same principle, you can brew chamomile, peppermint and meadow clover.
- Brew 200 – 250 grams of “hay” in a series of 5 liters. boiling water.
- Insist the extract for 1.5 hours.
- Add the infusion to the bathroom with warm water.
Purchase herbal preparations in pharmacies, not from your grandmothers.
Herbal medicine will speed up recovery when combined with medications.
Lovers of bee delicacies are interested in topics related to a wonderful product that hardworking insects give people. Doctors allergists – immunologists agree when answering most of the popular questions.
Which honey is not allergic
Among the numerous varieties of acacia honey, experts consider it hypoallergenic. If the tree is a honey plant “False-flowered robinia” (White acacia), grows in an ecologically clean region, beekeepers are conscientious about caring for bees, do not falsify the product, then acacia honey can be included even in the diet of young children.
Can I be allergic to other beekeeping products if it is to honey?
If a person has a history of allergy to honey, then the body will give a negative reaction to bee bread, zabrus, royal jelly, honeycomb and propolis.
How to replace honey for allergies
Allergic manifestations impose a ban on all products containing honey and its derivatives. As such, there is no substitute for honey. If you want to sweeten your tea, milk, or add a flavorful ingredient to your baking recipe, you can use molasses, maple syrups, and corn syrups.
Food allergy is a growing problem of our time. Among the products that cause unpleasant manifestations, honey is one of the most powerful provocateurs of allergic reactions.