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  1. #21
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Wyoming MN
    Posts
    406

    Post

    It seems to depend on the amount of venom. I took one nasty sting to my arm, and it swelled really bad, but I managed to squeeze most of the venom into my arm before I got the stinger out. If I get stung through clothing or gloves, the stinger comes out right away, and I don't get as much venom.

  2. #22
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Lenexa, Kansas
    Posts
    445

    Post

    I asked my allergist about this a few months ago, as I am allergic to wasps (not bee, now, but changes hapen).

    Apparently you can now be disensitized, if you wish. Mind, for my grass allergy it took 18 MONTHS of shots to be desensitized, but it is do-able if you wish.

  3. #23
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Jamestown, IN,
    Posts
    34

    Lightbulb

    Based on my experience, non-allergic reactions to bee venom follow a bell curve. Starting off minor, growing more and more intense, and then tapering off to nothingness. I was worried at first, thinking I was 'allergic'. After reading on this concept (cant remember the book title, but will provide if asked), I discovered the concept of the bell curve reaction to venom.

    Thankfully I'm on the downward slope of the bell curve. However, that was in the fall when I was being stung often (sometimes purposefully in the honey house, trying to speed past the top of the bell curve). Just so you know, I went from minor swelling/itching at sting site; to whole body itching and hives (red rash circles all over), to even swelling in areas not associated w/ the sting (i.e. stung on arm, 10 minutes later neck swelling and tightness).

    This concept should be the same for all. For those w/ little reaction through-out their beekeeping history, their curve may be small and/or gentle. Apparently, my curve was tall and steep!!

    As you can imagine this worried me until I read on the concept of the bell curve. However, based on this concept, it can be expected that, after periods (length, probably based on the individual) of no stings, increased reactions to re-occur.

    I learned quick the value of benedryl, and would administer if my reactions were becoming agressive. Afterwhich, 100% of the time, what ever reaction was happening would minimize.

    I consider my reactions non-allergic. Never had problems w/ breathing or getting oxygen. However, the neck swelling thang did get my attention. benadryl = good!

  4. #24
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Temecula, CA
    Posts
    147

    Post

    ...and the thread continues - keep it alive!

    I don't want to get too caught up with semantics but there is no question that you are/were allergic - meaning that you have a hypersensitivity to venom. Tell yourself that your not allergic but all of the medical texts that I have looked in (over 15 current texts both pre-hospital and hospital care) would differ with you. I actually delivered a baby in the back of an ambulance a few years back and the woman told that she couldn’t be having a baby because she wasn’t pregnant (go figure). I have met hundreds of people through the years that don’t realize that they have off-baseline (allergic) reactions. Luckily you have been able to desensitize yourself (great - -good for you!!!). Others cannot, and actually develop worsening reactions each time they are stung.

    In general, the concept of a symptoms/reaction curve makes sense but you were on the end of having an off-normal (hypersensitive) reaction to this protein. Not only that, but most doctors that I work with draw the line for anaphylaxis at a reaction that compromises the airway - - meaning tightness, neck swelling, swelling of the tongue, etc..

    What does it mean to be hypersensitive or allergic? In general, most doctors would draw the line when you exhibit symptoms that are systemic or non-localized. In ‘normal’ cases when you are stung (and venom –protein enters the body) the body sends Mast cells containing IgE antibodies to the site which subsequently attach themselves (the IgE antibodies) to the venom. When this happens, histamines are released which (among other things) promotes blood vessel dilation causing swelling, itching etc. A systemic reaction that most would consider a hypersensitivity (an allergy if you will) is when Mast cells basically mistakenly release histamine in other areas of the body. It is the extent in which your body's Mast cells (you have millions) mistakenly release histamines that causes the various levels of reactions.

    No question though that you have/had an allergy or hypersensitivity (some would consider mild anaphylaxis) that through desensitization you were able to mitigate the reaction. I would encourage people that if they have reactions that are non-localized to talk with their physician. You got it right though. Benadryl (Diphenhydramine) is the way to treat non-localized (and even bad localized) reactions because it inhibits the release of histamines.

  5. #25
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Lenexa, Kansas
    Posts
    445

    Post

    WeaverBro, hives and tightness of the neck means that you ARE allergic, and when you desensitized yourself you were risking having your BREATHING shut off before any SWALLOWED benedryl could take effect.

    A regular doctor will know more about infectious diseases than allergies, but an allergist knows what is what. PLEASE consult with an allergist about this, so that you carry something FASTER WORKING than swallowed benedryl.

    Please?

  6. #26
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Jamestown, IN,
    Posts
    34
    Thanks for the feedback. FYI - prior begining beekeeping, around 4 years ago I went to an allergist and was tested for supposedly everything they test for (I used to have bad hay fever and fall pollen allergic reactions). I came back allergic for dust mites, ragweed, and cats. Well, w/o getting into it, I wasn't dedicated enough to continue going to my weekly sensitization doses (only went once or twice....what can I say?).

    For what ever reason (bees and bee pollen!!?!), I have virtually no fall allergies....my wife came home w/ a couple of kitties which have not been a problem ( I assume cause I acclamated to their dander from young age?)...dust mites (who cares!).
    So hopefully, I'm guessing I've already been tested by the allergist during the initial exam. Nothing was noted about bee or other venoms.

    FYI - I did purchase an epipen when I began down this road, just in case. I do want to point out that my reactions were originally normal (minor itching, swelling at sting site.), became more severe, and have now (last fall) began tapering off. I expect my first few stings this year to be alittle more severe than where I ended....we'll see.

    Just so you know where I was getting my venom curve theory...it's described in detail toward the back of the "Hive and the Honey Bee" (2000, revised addition).

  7. #27
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    The Scenic Flint Hills , KS
    Posts
    5,159

    Post

    >- prior begining beekeeping, around 4 years ago I went to an allergist and was tested for supposedly everything they test for (I used to have bad hay fever and fall pollen allergic reactions). I came back allergic for dust mites, ragweed, and cats. Well, w/o getting into it, I wasn't dedicated enough to continue going to my weekly sensitization doses (only went once or twice....what can I say?).


    Shame on you! I used to have the worst cases of allergic attacks. My head would swell up so bad I would want to take a drill to my nose. For those of you who haven't experianced it; it is like the feeling of drowning, you are suffocating and can't get your breath.

    I went for the pin cushion test, about three hundred and fifty tiny injections of every kind of substance known to cause allergic reactions. After a certain timed period they would measure the amount of reaction with a scale and make notations. Then they make a concoction of those items for a weekly or twice weekly injection to desenthitize(sp) you. I went for two and a half years of the three year program, and have not had another attack since. I did get very sore and had to go from one shot to two smaller, one in each arm, then later alternate with arms and hips. It got to the point I couldn't take it anymore, but the program worked.

  8. #28
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    The Scenic Flint Hills , KS
    Posts
    5,159

    Post

    They did test for pollen, but they did not test for venom.

  9. #29

    Post

    In doing a college paper, I stumbled on an immune system feature which might well help here.
    To help us reduce any food allergies we might have, our gastrointestinal tract linings get immune memory cells which _can_ act in reverse of the typical skin, etc. immune memory cells.
    When they encounter an allergen to which they respond, these gut memory cells can _de_-sensitize the corresponding immune system branch. This would not be true of injected material for de-sensitization.

    So perhaps eating diluted, ground bee-stings in very small amounts, daily will, over time, develop tolerance cheaply, safely and painlessly. Here's hoping.

    Brian Cady

  10. #30

    Post

    Interesting stuff. I think it was the Hive and the Honey Bee that had the best discussion regarding allergies. Hoenybee venom is not as bad as other stinging insects. Through reading this (or something else) I think lots of people poorly understand allergies. For example, I used to say that I was allergic to cigarette smoke when it fact it was only an irritant. On the other hand, when I get near cats, my airway constricts and without a bronchodialtor I die or come close to it.

    Did you die or come close to it? Did you need emergency airway management to preseve an airway? That is the only thing that would have me saying that I am allergic and also the only thing that would keep me from having bees.

    I am stinging myself when I see a bee flying now to maintain my "immunity"--I used to swell up bad but now do not. I would like to have an epipen around for anyone that had problems but I would worry about managing the problem beyond that.

    I wish I could get some fireant immunity.

    ------------------
    Joe Miller
    nursebee@juno.com

  11. #31
    Join Date
    Jul 2000
    Location
    Twig, Minnesota USA
    Posts
    66

    Big Grin

    Here is some interesting information about reaction and nonsteriod anti-inflammatory drugs. The information is at the bottom of the page; http://www.beevenom.com/Beevenomallergy.htm. I found this link after having a major swelling in the face and lips after being stung on the foot. I was using tylenol at the time for a lower back issue. Before and after this swelling, I used asparin with only local swelling.

  12. #32
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    The Scenic Flint Hills , KS
    Posts
    5,159

    Post

    Check out the articles in the latest ABJ on this subject. Page 109, good read.

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