Thursday, July 18, 2013

Allergies - What can you do? Does honey help?

I hate having allergies. The grass is killing me. I'm on tablets and nose spray. I've decided that Loratadine is a joke, and Benadryl is a necessary evil. Benadryl makes a 24 hour tablet now. One day I was fine with it. The next day, today, I caved to the drowsiness and slept on the couch with the dogs for 3 hours! As for the nose spray, fluticasone propionate seems to do the trick.

The website,  suggests:
  • Keep your windows closed in the early morning and late afternoon, when the pollen tends to rise
  • During the pollen season drive with your car windows shut and fit an effective pollen filter
  • Avoid mowing the lawn
  • Wear sunglasses to help prevent eye irritation
  • Shower and change when you get home as pollen can cling to your clothing and hair
  • Dry your washing indoors
  • Choose plants that are insect pollinated
  • Avoid things that will make your symptoms worse, such as smoke and other forms of air pollution
There are lots of wives' tales surrounding allergies as well. The one we've heard the most is that eating local honey will help you to slowly build immunity to seasonal allergies. This is actually not true. First, let me tell you that Steve has been eating a spoonful of honey in his oatmeal 5 days a week every day all summer and his allergies are just as bad as mine (I have not had the honey). Second, research has shown that there is no difference between groups of people taking the spoonful of honey (local or otherwise) and groups taking a placebo. Researchers also note that most allergies are triggered by pollen spread via wind, not pollen spread by insects.

O'Connor, Anahad. 2011. Eating Local Honey Cures Allergies. NY TImes.

However, let me point out that some studies have documented bees pollinating plants typically wind-pollinated. Schmidt and Bothma (2005) documented bee pollination in sorghum and refer to other studies that have shown that some bees are known to collect pollen from 21 different grass species (Immelman and Eardley 2000).

Schmidt, MR and G. Bothma. 2000. Indications of Bee Pollination in Sorghum and its Implications in Transgenic Biosafety. ISMN  46:72-75.

Immelman K and Eardly C. 2000. Gathering of grass pollen by solitary bees (Halictidae, Lipotriches) in South Africa. Mitteilung des Museums fur Naturkunde Berlin, Zoologische Reigh 76:263-268.

So, take it for what you will. There's my little bit of science for you this week. No doubt, many of you did not even read this far. :o)


  1. Replies
    1. Well done! You must also be a fellow science nerd! :o)

    2. I live in Houston, and anything allergy related is usually at the top of the reading list :) I love your blog, and it's especially nice to read about the cool weather amidst the 100 degree heat we've got going for us over here!

    3. Thanks for reading! I've been a bit spotty with my posting over the summer due to all the visitors! I always feel bad sitting to write while people are here. Hope you are finding ways to stay cool in Houston!

  2. We have a HEPA filter that really helps my husband & cat (who both have allergies).


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