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Symptoms and Treatment Options for Honey Allergy

written by: Harry Sylvester • edited by: Tania Cowling • updated: 10/6/2010

Honey proves beneficial to health because it contains naturally occurring antioxidants. Take precautions if you are allergic to honey, even though allergies to honey are unusual. Read on to learn symptoms of honey allergy along with available treatments.

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    Honey Allergy Overview

    Honey containing glucose and fructose sugars is beneficial to your health. Its flavor may vary from season to season based on the soil, climate, and various factors. For thousands of years, Egyptians used honey for numerous treatments to heal wounds. It is one of naturally occurring antioxidants to help soothe coughs and fight bacteria causing sinusitis.

    Despite being useful and having good potential to relieve allergies, honey might lead to allergic reactions if it is contaminated by pollen allergens. Researchers have disclosed that proteins from secretions of salivary glands and pharyngeal glands of pollen proteins and honeybee heads found in honey can result in allergic reactions. Allergies to honey are very uncommon. Those of you who are sensitive to bee pollens should avoid consuming raw honey, royal jelly, and bee propolis.

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    Symptoms

    It is important to recognize honey allergy since it varies from individual to individual. In addition, it depends greatly on pollen found in honey, the honey itself, and cross-reacting venom components.

    Below are some symptoms of honey allergy you may notice after ingesting honey:

    Itching

    If you ingest honey containing sunflower pollen, then you are likely to suffer from itching in the oral mucosa. It is the skin inside the mouth serving to cover the oral cavity and prevent bacteria from entering into the mouth. The oral mucosa also consists of taste buds to recognize the taste.

    Itchy and runny nose

    Sometimes you might experience an itchy and runny nose. This symptom might then be followed by difficulty breathing and sneezing.

    Abdominal pain and diarrhea

    Once honey is ingested, abdominal pain and diarrhea might occur immediately. Pollen in sunflower may lead to these reactions.

    Anaphylactic shock

    If left untreated, you might suffer from anaphylactic shock, which is characterized by rapid pulse, loss of consciousness, a sudden drop in blood pressure, and the swelling in the throat. You need to seek immediate treatment once you have any signs of anaphylaxis, as they may lead to either coma or death. Sunflower pollen and mesquite pollen in honey can contribute to anaphylaxis as well.

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    Treatment

    Treatment of this allergy includes an EpiPen, which is a medical device with an auto-injector system containing epinephrine or adrenaline. This medication enables your body to deal with allergic reactions like anaphylactic shock. It helps you stimulate normal heartbeat and reduce the swelling in the mouth, tongue, or lips. It is recommended you always carry it in case of an emergency, but you need to consult your doctor before applying the medicine to know where to administer it. The doctor would suggest you inject it to the fleshy, outer portion of your thigh instead of a vein. There are two types of the medicine: EpiPen Jr for children delivers 0.15mg of adrenaline, and EpiPen for adults delivers 0.3mg of adrenaline. Nevertheless, the EpiPen might pose some side effects you should be aware of, including increased levels of blood sugar and nervous system disturbance.

    An antihistamine is a treatment that is available without a doctor’s prescription. This over-the-counter option can also lead to side effects such as dry mouth, drowsiness, and blurred vision.