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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    MS
    Posts
    25

    Post

    I have evidently developed an allergic reaction to bee stings.

    About a month ago I was stung 3 times and had to go to the ER due to difficulty breathing and difficulty maintaining a conscious state.
    Yesterday while installing a few nucs in hives I got stung twice and began to pass out again and had to use an eppi pen.
    Needless to say I am a little upset about this recent situation, I really enjoy my bees and have no wish to stop keeping them.
    I have been stung many times over the years and have never had a problem as had my father until a wasp sting killed him, This also causes me a great deal of concern.

    So far the medical profession has been little help so I will turn to the community.

    Is this a common occurrence?
    Is there any hope of me beating this?

    I would greatly appreciate any useful links or direct information relating to this so I may at least better understand my predicament.


    Thanks,
    Zack

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Palestine, Tx. 75801
    Posts
    485

    Post

    It worries me a little that it could happen to me someday. one alternative for you is a mesh bee suit. they have supposely been proven tested against Africanized bees. Glory Bee Foods supplies has them, and Golden Bee out of Metarrie, Louisiana has them. Good luck.
    jrhelliott@gmail.com

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Vanc Wa
    Posts
    68

    Post


  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Wayne, NJ USA
    Posts
    381

    Post

    Zack,

    Have you spoken with an alergist? I believe there is a desensitization (sp) process which can help. I don't know the details, I just heard someone say that they were allergic to honey bee stings and had gone through this desensitization and that it helped.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    oneonta al.
    Posts
    848

    Post

    My son also developed an reaction to them a few years back,He went to several Dr's,They told him he had to quit keeping bee's,It was a let down for him,because he has been around them all of his life.
    I would not take a change without seeing a DR.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Winnipeg Manitoba
    Posts
    311

    Post

    My condolences.

    Alergies can sometimes surface late in life, but they can also disperse as well.
    Personal choices being what they are, and the fact that you are now putting your life at risk, it's up to you to choose how to proceed. On the surface, most non-beekeepers will think you are irresponsible / insane / suicidal to continue beekeeping.
    All of us here, presented with the same dilema would be heartbroken and stubborn , and would try to find that "way" to continue doing what we love.
    Absolutly, I'd consult with an alergist. I wouldn't stop trying to find some medical way to desensitize or to reverse the reaction.
    I could never see myself not being a beekeeper, so I'd just cut down the risk as much as possible.

    Please consider:

    1) Do not beekeep alone, or in very isolated areas not more than 1/2 hour from a medical center.

    2) Epi-pens, carry a half dozen....in bandoleers if nessisary

    3) Liquid Benadryll by the case.

    4) The best **** bee suit money can buy. Including leather greives and boot covers.

    My heart goes out to you. I hope that you, or your medical professionals find a way.


    John Russell

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    MS
    Posts
    25

    Post

    Thank you all for the suggestions and support,
    I am really depressed about all of this.

    I already have a golden bee products suit but found out during my last ordeal that if it is pulled tight across any area they can still get a stinger through it and a pair of jeans.
    But if I am mindful of what I am doing I think it provides the best protection money can buy.
    I was not wearing it yesterday, just a veil,( in denial ), obviously the suit is now mandatory.

    I have to see a Dr. To get my eppi prescription refilled so it looks like an allergist will be the choice of who to see. Maybe they can do something to help.

    So far my reaction has been manageable, had my wife standing by with the eppi pens and truck ready to go. Used the pen and drove to the ER and sat in the parking lot to see what would happen next.
    Last trip was $900.00 so if I didn’t need to go in I wasn’t going to. After an hour I felt better and went back home.

    I must say that like searcher I do feel like I am at risk weather I keep bees or not due to where I live, If it stings it lives here, But I feel more education is needed before I make a final decision.

    I love my Bees and so does my 9 year old daughter, the time we spend together with the bees has brought more enjoyment to my life than anything else so I won’t give it up without much consideration.
    The most ironic thing of this development is I gave up drag racing motorcycles for bee keeping feeling a need to slow down a bit and remove some unnecessary risk from my life. :confused:

    Probably still safer than 170 mph.

    Zack

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Location
    New York City
    Posts
    3,401

    Post

    If I were you, I would contact George Imrie
    (GImasterBK@aol.com) and ask him about the
    program of treatment he underwent at
    Johns Hopkins.

    There ARE cures for such things, and they
    are not any more expensive than treatment
    for other allergies (less, in fact, as you
    can likely skip the $1,000 "screening" process
    to discover the specific items to which you
    are allergic.)

    It may well be that their techniques have
    spread out to other allergists, and they
    can refer you to one near your home.

    But I would not trust ANY bee suit to protect
    me if I were allergic enough to require an
    epi-pen. For the moment, you need to find
    someone else to work your hives, perhaps in
    return for you doing their extracting and
    bottling.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Bakersfield, CA US
    Posts
    11

    Post

    I too, just yesterday, had a heartbreaking reaction to a beesting. I was wearing my trusty Glorybee Brazilian mesh suit. I got it about 3 months ago and have not been stung once while wearing it... that is until yesterday. Zap! Right where the mesh was pulled tight across my knee as I sat on a hive box and lifted a frame out of the hive in front of me. I was wearing shorts...enjoying the promised coolness of the mesh. I thought well, no biggie, the suit is still a far site better protection over the other one I had been using, which was a pretty good one, too. After a few minutes I began to feel a little tired, but thought it was due to not eating breakfast. I started to work another hive, but had to cut it short and drive back to the house. I was already on our property, thank goodness. I managed to call my husband to come to the house. My chest was feeling tight, and my palms were terribly itchy. I had to lean on the furniture and walls to get to the bed. I laid down and took a benedryl. My blood pressure and pulse shot way up, which contradicts what I'd understood happens in these cases, my husband wanted us to go to the hospital, but I was stubborn and refused, believing I would snap out of it momentarily. I began to break out in hives, began to cough a little, had a bit of trouble swallowing, became unbearably nauseous, and nearly decided it was time to get to the ER, but after breaking out in a cold sweat, the episode began to break. In all, I think it took about 60 minutes to peak in my misery. Most of my body was covered with hives within two hours. I felt horrible the rest of the day. It seems most of the hives are gone today, but from my knee to my foot - well I don't think I will wear heels to the office tomorrow. More likely a sock.

    I realize now, it may have been foolish to wait it out, not seeking medical attention. My only excuse is that an ER doc lives across the road and I knew he was home because his tractor had been running all morning. I keep an epi pen, but didn't want to use it unless I absolutely had to, because I hear they can create a medical problem, too. In any case, my 3 years of beekeeping, my passion, my everything, seems to be at risk. I began my internet search today and found that desensitization treatments are out there. In fact, in this very forum and others, there are examples of beekeepers claiming to have had or know another beekeeper who had the treatments and has kept his bees. First thing tomorrow, I am on the phone to follow up on this. My 30 hives are depending on me!
    Connie

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Minnesota, USA
    Posts
    307

    Post

    Zack: ( I have a friend by the same name, so feel a particular sensitivity to your issue):

    I don't really have much to add to what has been said. Don't ignore the problem, but don't despair unduly. Find an allergist who is willing to desensitize you. As other have said, it can be done.

    In the meantime, again echoing the words of others, don't assume that there is a bee suit that will protect you 100%. As you say, you could get stung waling to the mailbox. Be ready for any reaction, but don't give up without talking with a GOOD allergist.

    Good luck and I hope your love affair (and you daughter's) with the bees can continue.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Santa Fe, NM, USA
    Posts
    54

    Post

    After having a reaction, I had good results, getting desensitization shots through an allergist.

    I know how depressing it can be to think you may have to give up beekeeping--working the bees has been one of the most enjoyable and therapeutic things I do. So talk to an allergist. And it does seem to me you should be able to skip the initial sensitivity testing the allergists like to do, since you already know you're allergic, and go straight to getting desensitized.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,946

    Post

    There have been reports that getting stung while on certain medications (in particular Tylenol or Ibupropen) accentuates the reaction to the venom. I would be curious if you were on one of them at the time.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    MS
    Posts
    25

    Post

    I have not found any documented cases of that yet Mr. Bush but would not rule it out.
    I do take Ibuprofen regularly.
    I found this report very interesting, I hope others do as well

    http://apis.ifas.ufl.edu/apis87/apjul87.htm

    I am a heavy smoker as was my father, so I may be seeing signs of atherosclerosis and or
    pulmonary oedema.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Hiram, Northeast Ohio
    Posts
    731

    Post

    I got stung yesterday, grabbing a board that was near a hive and inadvertantly sqeezing a bee between it and my finger. I had the brown-bottle flu at the time so had taken a single ibuprofen upon rising, and I can say that the reaction does seem all out of proportion today. Because I wasn't in a hive at the time, I pulled back and shook out the stinger almost instantly, and squeezed hard so a tiny microdroplet of clear fluid (venom?) formed on the skin which I wiped away. I thought this would be my easiest sting ever. Not so. My hand didn't swell too much, but I watched over the next ten minutes or so and saw tiny blisters develop along a blue artery, though they faded quickly. Then my arm began aching. Finally today I have a big ol lump under my armpit.

    I've had the armpit lump and some remote reaction before but only on real good or multiple stings. I'm a bit surprised. Ibuprofen involved? I don't know.

    There are a lot of ways to die. Lung cancer is one of the worst I know. I think rationally you should give up smoking before beekeeping--and maybe giving up the smoking will lessen your bee problem as well. Also maybe switching to top bar might help as there is less intrustion there. Very interesting article you cite on the relationship between good general health and bee venom reactions. Thanks for that and good luck whatever you decide.
    It\'s people! Soylent Green is peeeeople!

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Mobile, Alabama
    Posts
    536

    Post

    My wife has helped me with the bees for several years now, and she has been stung several times with only localized reactions. This Spring, however, she was stung on the leg and had a systemic reaction that included redness of the skin and itching all over her body. She took some Benadryl and we watched for signs of the reaction getting worse, but it stabilized and then began to dissipate.

    While she is not passionate about beekeeping as most of us are, she does enjoy helping and being outside and is missing it more than she thought she would. She is going through a desensitization process with a local allergist. Until we find that the process has worked she is staying away from the bees.
    Rob Koss

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Carp, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    123

    Post

    Hi DZE,

    It may be the "ibuprofen", Have a look at this link http://www.beevenom.com/Beevenomallergy.htm, My 5 years old daughter Had a sever reaction couple of month ago when she got stung, she got stung 4 times before with no reaction, the only different was that her mother gave her Advil after she got stung last timeless than 5min later we had to run to the hospital specially she already has asthma,
    we have an appointment with the allergist so we can know for sure if her last reaction was related to the Advil or not.

    Good luck,

    Mahmoud

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    N. Ridgeville, OH, USA
    Posts
    352

    Post

    SOunds like there are different symptoms for different people...

    So, what are the most common signs of an allergic reaction to bee stings? About 5 years ago I had a strong reaction to multiple stings - hard time breathing and a feeling of general tightness and swelling. Had to go to the ER and get a shot.

    Since then, stings always produce the same reaction. Within about 5 minutes, my eyes itch and water and I get a slight feeling of breathing difficulty and pressure in my sinuses - almost like a pollen alergy. Lasts for about 15-30 mintues. Never more severe than that, though.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Kennesaw, GA.
    Posts
    21

    Post

    Zack,
    I had a reaction that required a trip to the ER about 5 years ago. This is after 20 some odd years of keeping bees. Years before I had been tested for a ton of possible causes of what turned out to be adult onset asthma. I did not test positive for honey bee venom. After my ER episode that involved four stings on the head I was retested and was indeed reacting to bee venom. I went thru the series of desensitization shots and still go once monthly on maintainance. I have been stung twice this spring, thru the top of my glove and thru the arm of my bee suit. I had no more reaction than what I had experienced before my problem cropped up. Get the shots and keep your eppi pen in your pocket! My MD says that they are 99% effective and that seems true in my case so far.

    By the way my eppi pen perscription came with a trainer and my wife has been shown how and where to give me the shot just in case.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Jonquière, Quebec (ABOVE 48th parallel North!!)
    Posts
    150

    Post

    An interesting article written by Michaël T. Sanford a few years ago on bee stings and "allergic" reactions:
    http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/AA159

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Greensboro, N.C.
    Posts
    5,080

    Post

    I can't believe no one has mentioned the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. They are first and foremost in bee sting allergies. Please contact them at once for the latest and best treatments and advice.

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