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Can ingesting local honey reduce symptoms of allergic rhinitis (hay fever) in children and young people?
  1. Alphonsus Yip1,
  2. Ashley Reece2
  1. 1 Kingston Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Kingston upon Thames, London, UK
  2. 2 Department of Paediatrics, West Hertfordshire Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, Watford, Hertfordshire, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Ashley Reece, Department of Paediatrics, West Hertfordshire Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, Watford, WD18 0HB, UK; ashley.reece{at}

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Clinical scenario

A 14-year-old boy with allergic rhinitis (AR), more commonly known as hay fever, presents with sneezing, runny nose and itchy eyes. He is sensitised to grass, tree and birch pollen on skin prick testing. His symptoms affect him throughout the spring and summer months, affecting his performance at school. Despite medical therapies including oral antihistamine, nasal spray and eye drops, there are some days he remains symptomatic, and his mother is keen to find better treatment. She has heard that if you eat local honey, then this can improve the symptoms of hay fever and asks for your advice. You wonder whether eating local, unpasteurised honey can help reduce the symptoms of AR or even be a cure for the symptoms of hay fever.

Structured clinical question

In children and young people under 16 years of age with AR symptoms and sensitisation to pollens (hay fever) (patient), does ingesting local, unpasteurised honey (intervention) reduce symptoms and/or the need for pharmacological treatments to help improve the symptoms (outcome)?

Search strategy and outcome

A literature search was undertaken in October 2021, and Medline, Embase and CINAHL databases were searched using the following search terms: ((Honey OR Honey* OR local honey OR (ingest* OR consume OR eat) adj3 honey)) AND ((Hayfever OR Hay fever OR Rhinitis OR Allergic rhinitis …

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  • Twitter @drashleyreece

  • Contributors AY wrote the initial manuscript and performed the search. AR revised the manuscript, checked the paper selection, and reviewed the papers and edited the summary data for the table. Both authors contributed to revision of the original manuscript.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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