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Thursday, June 12, 2014

Can honey help allergies?

(Shutterstock image)

A colleague and I were just talking about allergies, hers are really bad right now. Poor woman, I know how she feels! :(

It's hard to find an allergy medicine that works and doesn't make you tired. Zyrtec, Allergra and Claritin are supposed to be less drowsy medicines.

We were also talking about how some people eat honey to help their allergies. I thought it was one of those myths about allergies, so I looked it up. I found an article on Allergy BeGone titled "Does Eating Local Honey Ease Allergy Symptoms?"

It sounds like it would work similar to allergy shots. With allergy shots (immunotherapy) your bottle of serum has tiny amounts of what you are allergic to (trees, flowers, bushes, animals, etc). By getting weekly allergy shots, your body slowly builds up an immunity to them. (In theory that's how it's supposed to doesn't seem to be working for Daughter Kitty-she's on YEAR 6 of allergy shots. You read that right....)

With honey, the idea is that as bees land on flowers and plants, then small amounts of pollen stick to their legs, which they then carry back to the hive. The pollen gets mixed in with the honey, then you eat the honey, and that should help your body build up immunity to the pollen and allergens.

BUT, a study from 2002 by the University of Connecticut Health Center tested out the honey idea and found that it didn't work. They split the people in the study into three groups. 
  • One group was given locally grown honey
  • One group was given non-local commercially grown honey
  • One group was given fake honey (honey flavored corn syrup)
At the end of the study, the researchers found that there was no change in allergies among the three groups - they all stayed the same. 
The study was published in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. The then president-elect of American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology  (Dr. Stanley Fineman) said that, "Seasonal allergies are usually triggered by windborne pollens, not by pollens spread by insects." He also said that "honey collected from plants that do not cause allergy symptoms would [likely not] provide any therapeutic benefit."
So, it sounds like eating honey should help allergies, but scientific studies show that it doesn't. 
How sad! I guess I'm just stuck with taking allergy medicine.... but honey is so much tastier than medicine! Too bad it doesn't help allergies :(  


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  2. I've been seeing a CF specialist and I'm doing much better. I found out I have a G551D mutation and I can be treated with kalydeco. I'm in the process of fighting with my insurance so they can cover it. Kalydeco is ridiculously expensive. In the meantime, the vest has worked wonders for me. I can get some of that mucus odd my lungs and breathe a little better. And I've gained 5 pounds after being put on digestive enzymes, I'm 5' 9" and weighed 110 pounds. Insurance companies don't consider rare diseases often, making it harder for people like me to get the meds we need. Hope your summer is going good

    1. Wow! What a journey you have been on!

      I hope insurance will cover Kalydeco. Have they told you what your co-pay will be if insurance covers it?

      One of my sons has monthly Xolair injections to control his asthma. The serum is about $1500 a month. Our co-pay is $150 each month.

      We found co-pay assistance on a website called NeedyMeds. They're a sort of clearinghouse for companies that will help pay for medications.

      I found Kalydeco on their website, these are the companies that can help with the cost

      Good luck! :)

    2. Remember I am nerdy gal, I'm just on my iPod. The copay would be $3000 a month should insurance cover it. I called them and they said I need to provide "additional medical necessity documentation." Probably because I have just been recently diagnosed and haven't been seeing a specialist for that long. I'm not going to wait until I get really sick and then they start to pay attention. I will call needy meds tomorrow and ask about that and I heard the manufacturer of kalydeco offers patient assistance programs and ill probably qualify since I'm a poor college student on my aunt's insurance. And my social worker may be able to help since I do have legal guardians and I have autism and get disability assistance at college (I also have epilepsy from autism and have a seizure dog which was actually free for me). Kalydeco would cost $294000 a year out of pocket!!

    3. I hope it helps! You may still have to go through the red tape of getting your insurance company to pay for it.

      Our doctor's office had to prove that it was "medically necessary" for our son to have Xolair injections. At $1500 a month, it's STILL less expensive for than paying for a hospitalizations. The average cost in our state now is $11,000 for 2 1/2 days in the hospital....

      I hope your insurance company approves your Kalydeco. I know it's a hassle, and it can take a month or two. Hopefully they speed things up for you! :)

    4. I managed to get a free sample from my doctor, which will last a month. I can't wait to see what it will do!! I had my social worker call my insurance and my doctor fax over all the paper the insurance wants. The lady answering the phone at the insurance was trying to tell me that many patients with cf don't respond to kalydeco. Well sweetie, only 5% of people with cf have the g551d mutation and they WILL respond to it. She had no clue what she was talking about so I had to have my social worker call and be firm with her. My social worker helps me advocate for myself. I sometimes have difficulty navigating myself with autism but I mostly live independently. I have a great roomate who also helps me. I can't drive since I have epilepsy so I have to walk or take the bus everywhere. But that's not a problem since I live in a college town. Needy Meds said they would help me with copay once my insurance gets on board which would be awesome since who has $3000 a month to pay for just one medicine. $294,000 would still be better than frequent hospitalizations and that looming lung transplant should my lung function not improve within 2 years. I live in Texas, have all my life. Houston air quality is terrible but my college town is much better. It's weird to see my symptoms change as I come home for the summer. I had lived in Houston so long I never knew there was better air quality and different allergens elsewhere.

    5. Nice! I'm glad someone is helping you navigate the "fun" of trying to get an insurance company to approve your medicine. It can involve a LOT of paperwork!

      Good news about Needymeds too. It's a great resource for co-pay assistance.

      I hope everything works out with getting things approved.

      Fingers crossed!!! :)