Honey Allergy: Definition, Symptoms and Treatment



Honey is a natural source of healing made by honey bees using nectar from flower plants. Although mostly made of sugar, honey also contains amino acids, vitamins, and antioxidants. These components make honey a natural healing treatment. It is a common remedy for cough worldwide. But it is also a nightmare for people with honey allergies. So, what is honey allergy? Here are the important information and treatment of honey allergy …

Honey is a very popular food both medically and as part of our daily diet. Although honey has some natural benefits, it is also possible for some people to develop an allergic reaction to it. When honey is produced, it may be contaminated with bee pollen from other plants and trees, including:



  • buckwheat
  • tulips
  • sunflowers
  • eucalyptus
  • willow
  • oak

If you are allergic to pollen, you may be allergic to certain types of honey. In most cases, it is actually pollen that causes allergy rather than the honey itself.

What Is Honey Allergy


Honey allergy is a very rare type of allergy. Allergy to honey can cause serious reactions and effects and can scare people. Honey allergy is evaluated by being included in the same group as a food allergy. However, people with honey allergy are less common compared to people with food allergies. Treatment methods are also fewer than other allergic conditions. Honey allergy can sometimes just have an effect on the skin, but in some cases, it can spread throughout the body and cause serious problems. In some cases, symptoms such as itching, redness of the skin, eye-watering, vomiting, redness and suchlike complaints may occur.

After the honey is consumed, the body reacts to the honey entering the body. The resulting reactions cause complaints to be revealed. Honey allergy is more common in children. It occurs after the consumption of honey due to a weak immune system. Honey allergy in adults is also caused by the weakness of the immune system. As the treatment of honey allergy, drug treatment is applied as in all other types of allergy. However, drug treatment may not always be successful in honey allergy.



Honey allergy is a type of allergy that causes poisoning by causing nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Honey allergy, which is a very serious type of allergy, should never be confused with food allergy and should not be underestimated. Although allergy to honey has the same symptoms as food allergy, honey allergy is a much more serious problem.

Symptoms of Honey Allergy


Honey allergy can cause different symptoms in each body. The magnitude of the complaints is usually related to the individual’s immune system. Complaints are more severe in a person with a very weak immune system, while those who do not have an extremely weak immune system can get over it.

  • Vomiting and nausea are among the symptoms of honey allergy. People with stomach and vomiting problems should not eat any food.
  • Honey allergy can cause skin changes. In case of skin changes and staining, consult a doctor immediately.
  • Honey allergy can also cause headaches. Shedding of the skin, skin stain, nausea, vomiting and headache should be consulted again to the doctor. Honey allergy is not an allergy type that occurs every year, such as pollen and asthma. People with a honey allergy can control the situation by staying away from honey.

Honey is a natural anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. However, it may be contaminated by pollen and other plant allergens. Symptoms of honey allergy may be similar to general pollen allergy symptoms, for example:

  • runny nose
  • sneeze
  • swelling
  • juicy eyes
  • itchy throat
  • rash
  • hives
  • swelling on the skin


The symptoms may vary depending on the severity of your allergy. Contact with honey may cause allergic reactions. In more severe cases, symptoms may include:

  • headache
  • wheezing
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • fainting
  • irregular heartbeat
  • anaphylaxis

If you start to experience irregular symptoms after consuming honey, plan a visit to your doctor. As with many allergens, lack of treatment can cause serious complications.

Honey Allergy Treatment


You can treat your symptoms with an over-the-counter antihistamine, such as Benadryl. If your symptoms worsen or do not improve after an hour, seek medical attention immediately. An allergic reaction to honey may be indicative of an underlying allergy to pollen or other substance.



If you are not sure whether you have allergies to honey, the best treatment is to prevent it. Discuss your symptoms and concerns with your doctor to avoid negative reactions.

More Information on Honey Allergy


Everyone knows that honey has a healing effect. Honey is a powerful antioxidant used in many diseases instead of drug treatment. Honey is such a useful and miraculous product, but it can also cause allergies to some people. Babies need attention, honey may not be useful for babies. Honey contains a bacterium called clostridium. This bacterium does not cause any problems in adults, but it causes important problems in infants.

Consumption of honey causes the increase of botulism bacteria in infants. This endangers the lives of babies. Try feeding honey after 1 year of age. However, be careful when feeding your baby after 1 year of age. Do not give too much honey, so that the baby consumes a small amount. To find out if he/she is allergic to honey, do not give any other food for a certain period of time and you will know if he/she is allergic.



Honey is a miracle flavor that has been used in the treatment of many diseases for centuries. It would not be wrong to say that it is a panacea for honey containing amino acids, vitamins, and antioxidants. However, this healing source product can cause allergic reactions in some people. Some people are allergic to pollen, and honey bees love pollen. Honey also contains the essence of the flower and pollen. This causes some allergic reactions.

Honey contains the essence of many flowers and pollen. This causes some people to have an allergic reaction. The following symptoms may occur in people with honey allergy. If you experience complaints after consuming honey, you should apply to the hospital as soon as possible. You will avoid this problem by starting medication in a short time. If such symptoms are neglected, you may face serious health problems.

If you do not want to experience health problems after consuming honey; Make sure that the honey you buy is of good quality. Stay away from under-the-ladder products and try to consume products that have been approved for reliability. Put a teaspoon of honey in water. If the honey melts, it’s definitely fake. Real honey sinks to the bottom of the water. Add a few drops of vinegar and 1 teaspoon of honey into a glass of water. If the water bubbles, you can tell that honey is fake.

The Most Dangerous Form of Honey Allergy: Anaphylaxis


Anaphylaxis is a life-threatening systemic reaction. It develops mainly due to the mechanisms mediated by our immune system and mainly histamine and some substances secreted from mast cells and basophils. Because there are life-threatening reactions, treatment should be done quickly. Therefore, the patient himself/herself or the people around her (mother/father, friends) should be informed about the treatment of the disease. Anaphylaxis develops mainly due to nutrients, medicines and bee stings.



In addition to avoiding allergens that cause anaphylaxis, adrenaline, which is the most important step of treatment, should be done first. Therefore, patients or their relatives should carry adrenaline auto-injectors with them. It is very important that patients with anaphylaxis have descriptive signs (necklace, bracelet, etc.) for easy identification and rapid treatment. Many allergens around us can cause anaphylaxis:

  • Foods (honey, cow’s milk, eggs, nuts, fish, shellfish, etc.)
  • Medicines
  • Insect stings (honey bee, wasp, etc.)
  • Latex

In addition to allergens, physical activities can cause anaphylaxis. This is defined as anaphylaxis triggered by exercise. When the factors causing anaphylaxis cannot be identified, idiopathic anaphylaxis is used as the definition. Environmental factors that cause anaphylaxis must be discovered by your immunologist.

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Anaphylaxis?


Anaphylaxis develops very quickly. Anaphylaxis may occur within minutes of exposure to the responsible allergen. In some cases, the clinical signs of anaphylaxis appear later, ie within hours.

  • Clinical findings

Skin findings are the most common.
Redness, itching, skin swelling and feeling of warmth

  • Respiratory system

Runny nose, sneezing, shortness of breath, cough, chest congestion and wheezing, severe cases of bruising (cyanosis) can be seen.



  • Circulatory system

A drop in blood pressure, palpitations, decrease or increase in pulse rate, dizziness, fatigue, and in severe cases person may develop shock.

  • Digestive system

Swelling of the mouth and throat, difficulty swallowing, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach cramps may occur.

What Are the Causes of Anaphylaxis?


Anaphylaxis usually occurs due to exposure to allergens. This encounter occurs with oral nutrients, intramuscular or intravenous medications, bee and insect stings, skin and respiratory allergens.

Factors causing anaphylaxis;

  • Nutrients
  • Medicines
  • Insect stings
  • Latex
  • Exercise
  • Radiocontrast media,
  • Unknown reason


Sometimes anaphylaxis occurs when a number of factors come together. For example, anaphylaxis develops when patients who consume food that they are allergic to without problems and then exercise. Although this condition is rare, it is more common in adolescence and girls. In other words, when they do not exercise, these patients can easily consume the food they are allergic to. It is defined as anaphylaxis related to exercise-induced nutrients.

Anaphylaxis Treatment


The most important step of the treatment and the first drug to be used is adrenaline. Adrenaline, which is life-saving, should be administered intramuscularly. Because anaphylaxis is a sudden and life-threatening reaction, its treatment should be contested against time. Adrenaline should be administered intramuscularly quickly. You may not have enough time to wait for the health care team or go to the health care facility. This application is the most important stage that connects you to life. For this reason, adrenaline-containing automatic special injectors (adrenaline auto-injectors) were made which can be done without the need of anyone.

Every patient or family member should have this adrenaline auto-injector. These disposable syringes should be applied by the patient to the thigh area (which may be over the dress). He should then go to the nearest health facility for further treatment. In addition to providing medical treatment to patients with anaphylaxis, more importantly, it is necessary to ensure that the patient does not fall back into the same situation. This stage is very important for patients.



Allergens causing anaphylaxis should be identified by an immunologist. Patients must avoid these allergens. When patients with drug allergy go to the physician, they should definitely inform the physician about that drug allergy. Patients who have anaphylaxis due to bee sting should take the necessary precautions against bee stings as well as vaccine treatment and carrying an adrenaline auto-injector.

Label Reading


The most important problem encountered in this issue is experienced in patients with food allergy. Patients and their relatives should be well informed about food protection against allergies. On the other hand, foods sold in the supermarket contain very different additives. This is an important hazard for patients. Although controlled by these regulations, the contents of the label must be read carefully by the patient and his / her relatives.

You may be exposed to allergens outside the home! Another important problem in food allergies is the consumption of food prepared outside (restaurants, cafes, etc.). Similar problems may arise in the child’s school. Therefore, problems can be minimized through extensive knowledge training. Patients with anaphylaxis should wear a marker (necklace, bracelet) for faster diagnosis. In addition, a written action plan and documents should be provided by the doctor to guide them to react. Patients with anaphylaxis due to bee stings should be included in the vaccination (immunotherapy) program. This method has very good results.



  • Similar conditions with anaphylaxis

Anaphylaxis-like reactions (anaphylactoid reaction) may develop as a result of exposure to a foreign substance. These reactions are not IgE mediated and do not require prior patient sensitization. It may also develop in people without a history of anaphylaxis-like reactions (radio-contrast agents, etc.).

  • Adrenaline Automatic Injector Usage

The adrenaline auto-injector is an automatic syringe for emergency treatment (until the arrival of the hospital) in cases of unexpected anaphylactic reactions in anaphylaxis patients and those at risk of it (bee allergy, food allergy, etc.). It is self-administered by the patient.

It should only be taken after being prescribed by doctors. Adrenaline Automatic Syringe should only be used after the doctor has prescribed the patient in the appropriate doses. You should be trained by your doctor about the use of automatic injectors. However, you should remember to update your information as you may forget some issues over time.

Honey Allergy and Cross-Reactions


One of the important points that people with pollen allergy should know is the so-called cross-reaction. Also known as oral allergy syndrome or pollen-nutrient allergy, in about 40% of people with pollen allergy, susceptibility to allergens contained in some fresh vegetables and fruits may also develop due to the structural similarity of pollen allergens and proteins in certain foods.



For example, approximately one-third of people who are allergic to birch (Betula Verrucosa) pollen may experience symptoms such as itching, swelling, abdominal pain, and nausea while eating fruit with seeds such as apple, pear, and cherry. Other similar phenomena are seen with other groups of pollens such as wormwood and grape grass. When pollen allergic people eat honey, they may experience an allergic attack (sudden urticaria episode or nausea, abdominal pain, diarrhea, etc.) due to the proteins they are sensitive to. This should not be confused with true honey allergy.

What Are Cross-Reactions?


The discomfort that people with pollen allergy feel after consuming raw fruits and vegetables is due to the fact that the immune system cannot see a difference between the allergens found in pollen proteins and the proteins in foods. Thus, allergic symptoms occur when the person with pollen allergy consumes the food in question. This is especially true for those who are allergic to pollen from birch. People most affected by pollen allergy are also most vulnerable to cross-reactions. Some people with pollen allergy react to food only during the pollen season, while others may show symptoms throughout the year. Who will react to what is quite individual, and not all people with pollen allergy have cross-reactions.



Many people who are allergic to birch pollen may experience discomfort in their mouths and throats when eating raw fruits and vegetables, especially during the pollen season. Oral allergy syndrome is a term commonly used in hypersensitivity that occurs with symptoms felt in the mouth. Some people feel itching up to their ears. These symptoms may progressively spread to other parts of the body and in the worst-case anaphylactic shock may occur. However, such a thing is quite rare in the northern European region. Approximately 70% of people who are allergic to birch pollen react to food and often to nuts, kiwi or raw carrots, apples and pears. Those who are allergic to wormwood may also react to celery and various herbal spices. Generally, pollen allergy develops, followed by cross-reactions. Learning about cross-reactions is important to prevent discomfort.

Treatment of Cross-Reactions


Drugs are of little importance in the preventive treatment of cross-reactions. Antihistamine-containing drugs can be used, but their effect is not fully known. Although immunotherapy with food allergens is not yet possible, such treatment may be considered in the future. Recent research has shown that immunotherapy with birch pollen allergens has a positive effect on cross-reactions.

Detailed patient history is crucial to diagnose. In the needle test with raw fruits and vegetables, food allergens are dropped at every point. Specific IgE measurement may be useful but rarely provides more information.

Useful Advice on Cross-Reactions


Cross-reaction with food does not necessarily mean that you will react to other foods on the cross-allergy list. The food product can generally be tolerated as boiled, peeled, canned or pickled. It is recommended that you avoid any food or food types you are reacting to. Cross allergy does not make pollen allergy worse. There is no reason for people with birch pollen allergy to consume raw fruits and vegetables as a precautionary measure.

Wormwood comes from the chamomile family, and those who are allergic to wormwood may also react to other species of the same family, such as white moon chamomile, dandelion, dahlia, and chrysanthemum. While a person with wormwood allergies with an excessive food sensitivity to celery can tolerate celery neither fresh nor boiled, a person with birch pollen allergy can consume boiled celery without reaction.



Fruit allergy seen in people with birch pollen allergy is a simple problem for many but maybe a problem for some. They can usually tolerate fruits such as melon, pineapple, wine grapes, bananas, and citrus fruits. They can also eat raspberries, currants, blueberries, and cranberries. Research in Germany shows that some species can be tolerated by provoking different apple varieties. Therefore, it may be useful to try different types of apples. Red apples are generally better tolerated than green apples. At the same time, peeling the apple before consumed and waiting for some time to affect the severity of allergy positively and reduces.

People who are allergic to mites or insects, such as mosquitoes, mosquito larvae, and cockroaches, are more often hypersensitive to shellfish (crustaceans, clams, oysters, and snails) than other people. It is reported that fatty meat allergy is more common in people with cat allergy. Some people with latex allergy may also have allergic reactions to exotic fruits and vegetables. Symptoms most often occur when bananas, avocados, and kiwi are consumed, but papaya, figs, potatoes, tomatoes, and chestnuts can also cause cross-reactions.

In pollen-associated food allergies, intolerance reactions based on original type I sensitization to birch, musk grass or grass pollen occur after eating plant-based foods. Pollen allergy does not have a clinical appearance in all cases. When it comes to symptoms, “oral allergy syndrome” (OAS) predominates. This syndrome includes burning and itching of the palate, contact urticaria in the lips, conjunctivitis, and rhinitis. Other possible symptoms include Quincke’s edema, asthma, exacerbation of atopic eczema, and gastrointestinal symptoms. The most common pollen-related food allergies are birch pollen-nut-core fruit syndrome and celery-musk-pepper syndrome. Cross-reacting foods are seen in order of relevance.

Savaş Ateş

I like eating honey a lot. We have a huge interest in bees and how they make honey. I have visited honey farms. I have talked to a lot of honey sellers. I read a lot of books about them. I want to share my knowledge with you.

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