What is the best honey for allergies
Despite being a species introduced by European settlers, the honey bee (Apis mellifera) plays an essential role within Australian agriculture. We need to appreciate their essential functions, and attempt to prevent stings.
Read more: Losing bees will sting more than just our taste for honey
If you see a bee let it be (sorry); don’t swat it or step on them. Our bees don’t attack unless they feel they need to defend their hive.
Do not attempt to locate a hive, call an expert.
For more information on allergies go to the ASCIA website. Local bee keeping groups are a excellent source of knowledge about local bee populations.
There is a widespread belief that eating local, unprocessed or "raw" honey can assist allergy symptoms by regularly exposing you to pollen — not unlike the concept of how allergy shots work.
Allergy injections assist desensitize pollen-allergic people by exposing them to a specific pollen or pollen mixture injected at regular intervals. An significant difference here is that the pollen amounts in allergy injections are known, and progressively increasing to a certain level, for best results. Studies own shown allergy shots are extremely effective for decreasing seasonal allergy symptoms. Local, unprocessed honey does contain little amounts of pollen from the environment. The pollen in honey is mostly from the flowers where bees are found (with flowering plant pollen less likely to cause allergy symptoms) and allergenic, airborne pollen from trees, grasses and weeds (not pollinated by bees!) in lesser amounts.
Thus, the quantity of allergenic pollen in the honey is typically extremely little, as bees don’t intentionally incorporate this pollen into the honey. This is considered a contaminant, love the bee parts, mold spores, bacteria and other environmental particles that can be found in honey. (Commercial processing seems to remove most pollen and contaminants.) There is no scientific proof that eating local honey will improve seasonal allergies.
One study, published in 2002 in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, showed no difference among allergy sufferers who ate local honey, commercially processed honey, or a honey-flavored placebo. And in rare cases there might actually be a risk. In extremely sensitive individuals, the ingestion of unprocessed honey can result in an immediate allergic reaction involving the mouth, throat, or skin — such as itching, hives or swelling — or even anaphylaxis. Such reactions may be related to either pollen or bee part contaminants.
What’s the best way to treat a bee or wasp sting?
It seems every family has their own secret remedy. From meat tenderizer or tobacco juice to vinegar or baking soda, there’s no shortage of “cures” out there and people who swear by them.
In reality, these home remedies own no genuine scientific or medical basis. While most aren’t necessarily dangerous, they also aren’t particularly effective. But that doesn’t mean there’s nothing individuals and parents can do after a bee or wasp sting. Taking the correct steps can minimize the typical pain, redness, swelling, and itching that most people suffer after a sting.
For people with a severe allergic reaction, the correct response could save their life.
For most people, a sting won’t cause more than pain, swelling, and redness correct around the sting—what’s known as a local reaction.
However, a little percentage of people are allergic to insect stings and suffer a much more severe and dangerous reaction, known as a generalized reaction. Stings in these people may cause anaphylaxis and can be fatal.
In fact, between 60 to 70 people in the U.S. die every year as a result of allergic reactions to stings, according to estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Tens of thousands more own extremely serious reactions that aren’t fatal.
Next time you or a kid receives a nasty sting, glance for signs of a generalized allergic reaction.
Signs of a generalized allergic reaction
Symptoms generally develop extremely quickly and may include
- Swelling of the lips and tongue
- A feeling of uneasiness, tingling sensations, and dizziness.
- Generalized itching and hives
- Wheezing and difficulty breathing
- Collapse and loss of consciousness
Anyone who has any of these symptoms should go to the emergency department immediately.
People who had a generalized allergic response in the past will extremely likely own one again after another sting.
However, sometimes people who never had an allergic reaction on previous stings own a generalized allergic reaction to their next sting. Fortunately, this first reaction is less likely to be one of the fatal ones.
People who know they’re allergic should always own access to an epinephrine auto-injector. An auto-injector is a portable device that injects you when you shove it against your skin—you don’t own to know how to “give a shot.” Epinephrine (adrenaline) is a drug that treats allergic reactions and can be life-saving. Use the auto-injector at the first sign of an allergic reaction.
Patients and parents should note—a more severe local reaction (greater pain or more extreme swelling) is not an indicator of increased risk for a generalized reaction, nor is receiving multiple stings.
If there’s no sign of a generalized allergic reaction, follow these 3 steps
Up to 1 million people go to the Emergency Department for bee stings every year. Most of these visits are for local reactions that you can treat at home by following these steps.
1. Remove the stinger with a dull-edged object
Bee stings and wasp stings are relatively similar, with one large exception. After a sting, honeybees leave a barbed stinger behind (and the honeybee dies). Wasps, on the other hand, own a smooth stinger that can sting multiple times without becoming detached from the insect.
Following a honeybee sting, the stinger should be removed as quickly as possible. In numerous cases, the bee also leaves behind the venom bag, which continues to pump venom as endless as it stays intact. So the sooner you can remove it and the stinger, the sooner you can stop the flow of toxins.
A blunt object such as a credit card or butter knife gently scraped across the affected area is the best way to get rid of the stinger.
Avoid using tweezers or anything else that could puncture or squeeze the venom bag and make symptoms worse.
2. Apply a cool compress
Once the stinger is out, a cool compress can assist alleviate pain (just don’t dunk the whole area in ice). An antihistamine taken orally or applied as a cream can assist alleviate itching and swelling.
3. Elevate the area
Depending on the location of the sting, elevating the area can also reduce swelling.
The level of swelling caused by a sting can often be startling. In fact, a sting on the hand can result in the hand swelling up to twice the normal size. This swelling, along with the area feeling warm and tender, can sometimes be confused for infection—also known as cellulitis.
Individuals and parents should know it’s rare for infection to develop after a sting, especially within the first few days.
The swelling caused by a local reaction may decrease within a few hours, but it can take a few days to fully resolve.
Keys to preventing stings
The best way to avoid complications from a sting is to avoid being stung in the first put. Here are a few things to hold in mind if you know you or your kid will be exterior and around bees or wasps.
- Remember bees and wasps are social creatures.
They only sting humans to protect their hive. The ancient law of thumb is true—if you don’t annoy them, they won’t annoy you.
- Avoid wearing bright colors, scented perfume, or hair sprays.
- Bees and wasps are beautiful slow fliers—most people can get away from them just by walking quickly.
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How do I know if I am allergic?
If you own not been stung by a bee before you are unlikely to be allergic to the venom.
However, if you own been stung by a bee, there is the potential to develop an allergy. We do not know why some people become allergic and others don’t, but how often you are stung seems to frolic a role.
If you own experienced extremely large local reactions from a bee sting, or symptoms separate from the sting site (such as swelling, rashes and itchy skin elsewhere, dizziness or difficulty breathing) you may own an allergic sensitivity. Your doctor can assess you by taking a full history of reactions. Skin testing or blood allergy testing can assist confirm or exclude potential allergy triggers.
An allergy specialist is key to assess people’s risk of severe allergic reactions (anaphylaxis).
There is an effective treatment for severe honey bee allergies, called immunotherapy. This involves the regular istration of venom extracts with doses gradually increased over a period of three to five years.
This aims to desensitise the body’s immune system, essentially to “switch off” the allergic reaction to the venom.
Venom immunotherapy is extremely effective at preventing severe reactions and is available on the Pharmaceutical Benefit Scheme, whereas other immunotherapy treatments in Australia cost an average of A$1,200 per year.
First aid for a bee sting
Bees generally leave their barbed sting in the skin and then die. Remove the sting as soon as possible (within 30 seconds) to limit the quantity of venom injected. Use a hard surface such as the edge of a credit card, car key or fingernail to flick/scratch out the barb.
For a minor reaction such as pain and local swelling, a freezing pack may assist relieve these symptoms.
If a bee stings you around your neck, or you discover it hard to breathe, or experience any wheezing, dizziness or light-headedness, seek medical advice urgently.
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How do bees sting?
Honey bees work as collective group that live as a hive.
The group protects the queen, who produces new bees, with worker bees flying out to collect nectar or pollen to bring back to the hive.
Bees own a venom sac and a barbed stinger at the finish of their abdomen. This apparatus is a defensive mechanism that is used if they feel under attack; to defend the hive from destruction. The barb from a bee sting pierces the skin to inject the venom, with the bee releasing pheromones that can incite other nearby bees to join the defensive attack.
The venom is a complicated mixture of proteins and organic molecules, that when injected into our body can cause pain, local swelling, itching and irritation that may final for hours. The specific activity of some bee venom components own also been used to treat cancer.
Further reading: Curious Kids: Do bees ever accidentally sting other bees?
A single bee sting is almost always limited to these local effects.
Some people, however, develop an allergy to some of these venom proteins. Anaphylaxis, a severe allergic reaction that is potentially life-threatening, is the most serious reaction our body’s immune system can launch to defend against the venom.
It is our body’s allergy to the bee venom, rather than the venom itself, that generally causes life-threatening issues and hospitalisation.
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