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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Jackson, MO
    Posts
    1,858

    Default Allergic reactions

    I've got a question that I'm trying to develop into an article for the local newspaper. You know how it is when you pick up a swarm and everybody and their dog screams, "Get those bees outta here! I'm allergic!"

    Or the call I got when the bees, wasps, hornets, etc., were all foraging on a large and very fragrant shrub. "You gotta do something!" they lament.

    Then I get the story how they stepped on a bumble bee in the clover on their front lawn when they were six years old and it hurt like the dickens. Their foot swelled so they couldn't get their shoe on for two days and had to miss gym class.

    Well, I don't want to poo-poo anyone's normal sting reaction, and yes, I believe some people are allergic, even deathly allergic, but are their different reactions, some of which come from people claiming they are "allergic" merely because it hurt. And because it hurt, we need to torch the whole colony.

    Any of you see what you would call a "normal" reaction? Anyone have instances where an "epi-pen" was called into use?

    What I want to accomplish with this story is a lessening of the hysteria regarding bees, in general, and sting reactions, specifically. I want people to know that mild swelling is to be expected, and that it's going to hurt. Amputation is always optional.

    Sometimes when I can't get to the swarm call immediately I get the threat of extermination because the calle is "allergic" and I'm the savior of the bees. Ever try and extract a hive from a brick house because someone is "allergic," then have them tell you they don't like the idea of killing the bees?

    I've already interviewed ER doctors who say they hardly ever see an allergic reaction to bee stings. I'm hoping for some statistics to compare it to other allergic reactions.

    I'd also like to include in the story how bee swarms are *usually* docile, and that when left alone bees will *generally* leave us alone (like that knot-hole hive in the hollow maple tree that's twenty feet off the ground that I cannot remove no matter how much they try and convince me they're allergic).

    I hope to convey a sense that humans and bees can live together in their respective environs.

    Grant
    Jackson, MO http://www.25hives.homestead.com
    Beekeeping With Twenty-five Hives: https://www.createspace.com/4152725

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Oxford, Kansas
    Posts
    1,988

    Default

    I had one bee call last year where the lady was 8 month pregnant. Bees were getting into here house she stepped on one and was stung. Her foot swelled up like a football. She spent the night in the hospital. Seen the foot myself. Never seen anyone swell up like that. other than that I have meet hundreds of people who are allergic however most claiming they are allergic are no more allergic than your typical beekeeper. How I seperate them out is I usually say something to the affect of " It must stink having to carry an epi-pen all the time" most have never heard of it. I have found only a remote few who actually do have the pen. Those are the ones that are probably legit or at least they convinced a doctor they was. I guess the best way to look at it is. We are all allergic to bee stings to some extend. Most people experience local swelling and irritation and a very remote few that it can be a life or death matter. They rest fall somewhere in between

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Pepperell, MA.
    Posts
    3,779

    Default

    I think so much depends on the number of stings, the location, the person, etc. I had one reaction and I've been very cautious ever since. Got stung under my eye and ended up with hot red blotches all over my upper torso for about an hour after the incident. That was after I took benadryl. Seeing as how I had been stung on the hands and arms numerous times before, I wondered what the next sting would bring. Perhaps an even worse reaction? I took more precautions since then, going back to using gloves and slowing down even more. Since then, I've been stung on the arms or through the gloves without significant issues. But, I still don't know for sure what would happen if I took a sting to the face again.

    To a lot of people, any swelling is a reaction. But since I'm not a doctor, I'm not sure that I would try to minimize the consequences of that swelling right after they were stung. I completely agree that people need to recognize that bees and humans have co-existed for a long time and that the danger presented to people by bees and other stinging insects could often be over-stated. They are "usually" docile and they do "generally" leave us alone (sometimes I like to imagine that the bees say exactly the same things about us!) Yes, people should expect mild swelling and pain. On the other hand, increasing swelling, pain and other symptoms demand a different response. For those people, I like to focus on the likelihood of being stung by yellowjackets and other stinging insects instead of just honeybees. I also like to focus on the difference between them.
    "My wife always wanted girls. Just not thousands and thousands of them......"

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Santa Rosa, California
    Posts
    86

    Default Fear comes from a lack of knowledge about bees

    There will allways be storys to tell about bees and the sting.
    We need to teach those who are fearfull of the bees the basic purpose of why they are around, to pollinate and make honey! Then use reason to give them the understanding, pain in not bad but can be used for good.Young people learn this principal very fast while the older we get the slower we are to get it. I uaually have some of the sting kits that brake and wipe on the steing for those with low threshold to pain. I also have a container of antihistamine that works to slow down the alergic reaction.
    There is a more important story to be told about the bee's sting and it's healing ability of stimulating the blood to flow in the puncture area.

    Quote Originally Posted by Grant View Post
    I've got a question that I'm trying to develop into an article for the local newspaper.

    Grant
    Jackson, MO http://www.25hives.homestead.com
    Last edited by beemanlee; 05-01-2008 at 11:49 PM. Reason: Fix the amount of Quote

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Raleigh, North Carolina
    Posts
    3,598

    Default

    this thread covers it pretty well

    http://www.beesource.com/forums/showthread.php?t=216633

    pictures and all

    Dave

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Location
    McGraw,NY,USA
    Posts
    580

    Default

    I carry two epi-pens in my glove compartment. We also have one at the house as my grandaughter is allergic to peanut butter. I use the old ones for my truck when ever I am doing a removal or swarm removal. Each year I get new ones (my grandaughters last year pens) The doc said as long as the fluid is clear they should be good. All that said I have never had to use one on anyone who was near a removal...Rick
    Last edited by RAlex; 04-06-2008 at 06:00 PM. Reason: spell check

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    New Milford, CT
    Posts
    181

    Default

    honestly.. I have an epipen (somewhere) because when I take aspirin I have an anaphylactic reaction. They're only good for about two years. You have to replace them. I'm pretty sure you need a prescription (I have one) but I think you can buy them OTC in Canada.

    I'm not that concerned about where my Epipen is/how old it is because I'm pretty clear on what I'm allergic to and I can avoid it. I'm not going to step on an aspirin by mistake and have a reaction and I don't think anyone's going to slip one into my drink.

    As for bee stings.. more people are allergic to aspirin than bee stings (not allergic as in 'oh my stomach hurts' but allergic as in 'gee I can't breathe wheres that stupid epipen and call 9-1-1')

    If you have to use and epipen on someone.. you should be heading for the emergency room, it will only buy you about 20 minutes. If not.. it's overkill.

    Most people DO NOT NEED THEM. Point blank. So if you step on a bee and your toe swells up.. take an antihistamine and if you want call your doctor. They'll probably give you a cortisone shot or steroids not epinephrine.

    Another thing to keep in mind .. you CAN INJURE someone by using an Epipen. It CAN CAUSE bone injury if misused.

    **********************************
    Added : here's a link you may find interesting
    http://www.bmj.com/cgi/reprint/320/7247/1441.pdf

    FAR more people get anaphylactic shock from food, 'unspecified' and therapeutic drugs than from insect venom. (its a safe bet that 'unspecified' DOES NOT include bee stings, which are easily visible). Your dinner and your doctor are more apt to kill you than the beehive.

    Quote Originally Posted by Grant View Post
    Amputation is always optional.
    LOLz...!!
    Last edited by Irene S; 04-06-2008 at 07:51 PM.
    to bee or not to bee ~ that is the question

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Lavaca county, Texas
    Posts
    497

    Default

    Worked in preschool off and on over 15 years. Saw LOTS of Epi-pens. NEVER used one, even on bee stings. Peanut butter, on the other hand, we called 9-1-1 twice . . .

    Summer

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Lancaster CA
    Posts
    410

    Default Have lots of experience with sting alergy

    Where do I start. My body was totally afflicted with arthuritus at age 32. My great uncle suggested I use bee stings. I hived a swarm and away we go. When I got a sting on my hand , my whole arm would swell and my fingers looked like the skin was going to pop off. My uncle said to sting my rump every other day. Soon I could stand stings on my hands and the calcium deposits in my joints disapeared. I worked bees for 30 yrs with no gloves or taped pant legs. I needed a few stings a week on my hands and legs to stop the pain of arthuritus. My grandson lived with me and at age 3 he got stung. No reaction. At age 4 he got one sting on his finger and went into antifalactic shock in 15 min. Luckily we were 5 minutes from a hospital and his father, a respritory therapist student, alerted the ER doctor to what to do. We treated this alergy with weekly injections by his pedatrition for 14 months. 14 years later he does not have a sting alergy. In my last years of commercial beekeeping, Africans moved into my area. More than once, I have received 50 to100 stings in a single day. I quit beekeeping on a large scale and went back to hobby beekeeping. Now I have to purposely sting my hands, knees and back to stop calcium build up and pain. A beek should get at least 2 stings per month. Also a sales rep for Epipen told a group at CSBA that the shot is good as long as it is clear. When it gets too old or over heated it will turn tan to brown.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Santa Rosa, California
    Posts
    86

    Default Good comment about arthuritus!

    Quote Originally Posted by jjgbee View Post
    Where do I start. My body was totally afflicted with arthuritus at age 32. .
    jjgbee,
    That really was a good comment on your reaction and then do what your uncle said, sting yourself...
    I know that it work on me too... My hands get stiff and when I'm working the bees I like to have some stings on each hand...
    Most people don't even know what we are talking about and call us quacks of worst...
    All people think of is pain when you say sting... I say relief...
    Lee...

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Lavaca county, Texas
    Posts
    497

    Default The odds are --

    I found these tidbits interesting.

    The odds are 8 out of 10 (80%) that you will die in a hospital. - Discover Magazine, 9/06

    The odds are 1 out of 1,743 (.0573%) that you will die in an accident this year. - Discover Magazine, 11/07

    The odds are 1 out of 10,000 (.001%) that you will get injured by a toilet this year. - San Diego Union, 5/29/07

    The odds are 1 out of 33,333 (.003%) that you will die from a food-borne illness this year. - San Diego Union, 2/6/07

    The odds are 1 out of 900,900 (.000111%) that you will drown in the bathtub this year. - Time Magazine, 12/4/06

    The odds are 1 out of 1,111,111 (.00009%) that you will die in an avalanche in the next decade. - Discover Magazine, 1/08

    The odds are 1 out of 4,545,454 (.000022%) that you will die from a bee or wasp sting this year. - Time Magazine, 12/4/06

    And I personally think you are way more likely to be stung by a wasp than a bee. But that's anecdotal.

    I guess the moral is, if you get stung by a wasp, don't drive to the hospital, after taking a bath and using the toilet, before skiing in an avalanche, as you might have an accident!


    Summer

  12. #12

    Default

    Chapter in Hive and the Honey Bee covers it well.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Santa Rosa, California
    Posts
    86

    Default The odds: on the toilet in a hospital

    Summer1052, >315236<post
    Your trivia statement.....
    Did they give the odds, without skiing in an avalanche, of dying on the toilet in the hospital?
    That would be more like it for me than any bee or wasp sting!
    Lee...

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