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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    North Pole AK
    Posts
    24

    Question Bee sting question

    So against my beter judgement i was working with my hive in shorts. (stupid yes i know... Its a long story ). I was stung a few times, twice in the left pinkie knuckle, once on the left wrist, once on the right wrist, once on the right forearm, and twice on the left shin just above my ankle. The only ones that hurt especially bad were on my ankle/shin. I scraped the stingers out with my credit card as best i could. I didn't feel any ill effects until about 8 hours later when I woke up with horrible pain in my left leg where i had been stung. It felt like someone had kicked me in the shin with a steel toe boot. Within 3 hours the pain had migrated up to my left hip where my leg attaches to my body. It felt like i had broken my ankle and couldnt put any weight on it. I had to go to the ER and get an Epi-shot and a few other meds. I asked if i was allergic to bee stings and was told that i was NOT, and it was only a "reaction to the stings". Ok so my question is what the heck happened? What's the difference between being allergic to beestings and just having a reaction? Long story short it was one of the most painful things i have experienced in my life and i'm wondering if i'm allergic to it or not. Has anyone else experienced this before or have any insight?
    I can tell ya, I will NEVER go to the hive with shorts on again. I definitely learned my lesson.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Kokomo, In
    Posts
    359

    Default Re: Bee sting question

    I have reactions to different beestings. I had one a couple of weeks ago on my pinkie that made my entire hand and wrist swell. My pinkie was 3 times it's normal size and hurt like the dickens. My hand had doubled in size. 2 days ago, I was stung on the index finger of the same hand. It barely puffed up, and now it itches. Go figure.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Marlin, Texas
    Posts
    134

    Default Re: Bee sting question

    I think the difference between "allergy" and "reaction" is whether or not the condition is life threatening. When I read about allergic reactions to stings it almost always mentions "anaphylaxis".

    Depending on where I'm stung, I either swell a little or end up looking like the Michelin Man. Since all conditions are reactions to the sting, I prefer "sensitive" to describe a non-life threatening reaction.

    Be that as it may, I also like to error on the side of safety and keep an epi-pen around. If you're not allergic, a visitor might be.

    Walt
    "Having Fun with Nature"
    www.rgf-tx.com

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    North Pole AK
    Posts
    24

    Default Re: Bee sting question

    Ahh good point Walt. I did manage to get 2 Epi pens from the Doctor with 2 additional doses to go along, plus a practice pen. On a side not i was pleasantly surprised when i got my shot from the epi pen; I told the nurse it didnt work because it didn't even break the skin. Apparently its a real easy dose.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Fayetteville, NC
    Posts
    32

    Default Re: Bee sting question

    Just got stung in my right hand between the thumb and index finger (meat part). Hand is still slightly swollen but the other stings I received are just itchy. Dont know why... Maybe its just the right spot close to a blood vessel or nerve.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Outagamie County, Wisconsin USA
    Posts
    890

    Default Re: Bee sting question

    An allergic reaction to a bee sting would be: difficulty breathing, heart racing, hives way away from the sting site. Use the epi pen if you have one and get to the ER asap. If possible, also take Benedryll.

    A local reaction would not have the above symptoms, but is rather swelling (even great swelling), itching, redness around sting site, warmth and/or bruising around sting site. It is possible for a local reaction of swelling to cause difficulty breathing just because it is near/in the mouth or neck. Get to the ER for any breathing issues.

    Many people think if there is quite a bit of swelling that that must mean they are allergic. That is not true. Great swelling is a sign of a good immune system per my apitherapist. In fact, apitherapists like to see swelling as it is an indication that the sting therapy will be effective. Early on in BVT a person may have a great swell and then they no longer get that big reaction but the therapy will continue to benefit them.

    I am now taking a break after having undergone BVT for 7 months where I took more than 950 ICED stings during this time. As I built up to the stings gradually, I came to a point early on where I would not have itching and almost no swelling even though my ankle was stung 12 times at one time. I have also stung trigger points including my shins. My thought is if there is a bit of swelling in a spot that is tight to bone with little muscle (like a shin) it is tender. Mine was. Also, joints that swell due to stings may be painful to use. My thought is the fluid in the joint makes the joint difficult to use.

    Benedryll will alleviate discomfort. However, the benefit of the bee venom will diminish if Benedryll is taken.

    Only 5% of visits to the ER due to allergic reactions from a sting involve honeybees. Wasps/yellow jackets are responsible for the other 95%.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    StateWide, Florida, USA
    Posts
    180

    Default Re: Bee sting question

    Quote Originally Posted by Bee Bliss View Post
    Only 5% of visits to the ER due to allergic reactions from a sting involve honeybees. Wasps/yellow jackets are responsible for the other 95%.
    Don't forget to throw Ant stings in the numbers!!
    Richard Martyniak, M.S. Entomologist - http://AllFloridaBeeRemoval.com

  8. #8

    Default Re: Bee sting question

    You might be develpping a hypersensitivity, wich is a precurser to an all out allergy. How long have you been keeping bees and how often do you get stung? Beekeepers are more suseptable to venom allergies than the general population due to our exposure to bee dander while inspecting colonies. You need to get stung often so that you don't develop an allergy.

    I'd recommend you read the the chapter "Allergies to Bee Venom" in "The Hive and the Honey Bee". Pay particular attention to the section where they discuss beekeepers specifically.
    BEE-L snob since 1999
    What's a swarm in April worth?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Outagamie County, Wisconsin USA
    Posts
    890

    Default Re: Bee sting question

    Prior to starting the Bee Venom Therapy we got a test sting to see if we were allergic to the sting of a honeybee. After waiting 15 minutes, we could proceed if there was no indication of an allergic reaction (and there wasn't). We continued stinging 3x a week building up our number of stings. We were also instructed that if we took a break for more than "X" weeks that we would again have to start out with a test sting to check for allergy and then proceed slowly again to build up. I'll have to check on the time frame. So, yes, an allergy can develop! Once a person is getting stung regularly, there is no need to test sting unless, like I said, there is a time lapse.

    If someone is allergic to honeybee stings, the good news is they can be desensitized to the bee venom in about two weeks and even they can then participate in BVT.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    San Diego, California, USA
    Posts
    29

    Default Re: Bee sting question

    Yes, like most things the body can build up a tolerance thus reducing reactions and symptoms. For BVT, testing a small amount of bee venom on the body to check for allergies and then slowly increasing dosage is the best practice.

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