Patients frequently ask us about the oft-touted benefit of eating local honey to relieve seasonal allergies…. Sounds great, doesn’t it?
The pollen carried by bees is NOT the pollen to which we typically become allergic. Seasonal allergies are generally caused by the pollens of trees (spring), grass (spring and summer), and weeds (summer and fall). These pollens are blown by the wind in large quantities from one plant to another, and do not require bees. Flowering plants, on the other hand, require bees to transport pollen. These pollens do not end up airborne in large enough quantities to typically cause allergies. And EVEN IF someone were allergic to the pollen of a flowering plant, the amount of the pollen in honey is not sufficient to build up a tolerance to that pollen.
Allergy shots, on the other hand, contain therapeutic amounts of the relevant, windborne pollens to which patients are allergic. Alternatively, we sometimes use sublingual (liquid under the tongue) immunotherapy containing therapeutic amounts of a patient’s relevant airborne allergens. Both approaches have a long track record of proven efficacy by naturally building up a protective immunity to the items to which patients are allergic. This is the best way to prevent allergy symptoms in the first place, thereby reducing the need for allergy medications, and greatly improving quality of life.
Please call us, or visit us our website if you would like to learn more about how we may best prevent your allergies from taking the fun out of being outside!
By Dr. Van Wye
Allergy Partners of Western North Carolina