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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2009
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    Los Angeles, CA
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    4

    Question Got a sting - BAD reaction - advice needed!

    Hi,
    I was stung over the weekend, and had a very scary reaction... I need some advice since my doctor was not entirely familiar.
    * I have NEVER had a reaction to a sting other than minor swelling or pian - local to the sting!!

    I was in the vicinity of my small hive, and something stung me on the back of my head. It sure felt like a typical bee sting at the time. About 5 minutes later I develpoped extreeeeeeme itching on my palms. I knew right away that something was wrong and headed for the house. By the time I went inside, the soles of my feet were itching terribly and I was feeling a bit flushed. I found some info on the internet that advised that I keep the sting site below my heart, but thought that standing on my head might actually exaccerbate the problems.
    At this point I started to feel nausea, and developed itchy spots - hives I guess - and my heart really picked up speed, then I felt my heart beat( pounding in my feet and palms. My face swelled up, and I felt very woozy. Then, as I was about to call 911, I barfed into the laundry hamper, (Wife not too thrilled with this move) and got into bed... took a Benedyl and started to feel better. I never had constriction of my airways, though my sinusses felt like I had developed a cold. I was terrified, but it was over in about 20 minutes.
    So, I still don't know if I am allergic, or if I just had a bad reaction. Does the location of the sting matter? I have been stung about 6 times over the last year, but this is the first reaction of this type. Is it a reaction or am I a new member of the "I am allergic to Bees and now have to get rid of the hive" club?
    I got an epi pen ( $65, thanks for nuttin' blue cross) and need to know if I need to walk around with it at all times in case, or if I just need it nearby as a precaution. Can I expect things to get worse if I have another sting????
    Should I get rid of my hobby hive???

    Thanks for any insights - I am a bit freaked out, and am looking for some practical info.
    Steve Hofmann
    North Hills, CA

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Erie County, Pa, usa
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    49

    Default Re: Got a sting - BAD reaction - advice needed!

    Steve,

    Carry your epi-pen with you and please go speak with your physician. That sounds like a dangerous sort of reaction--I don't think I'd take any chances. Get some advice from a doc.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
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    Alachua County, FL, USA
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    Default Re: Got a sting - BAD reaction - advice needed!

    Carry your epi-pen and antihistamines, take the antihistamines as soon as you are stung next time. If you did not remove a stinger it probably was not a bee. Bees tend to leave the stinger behind as the barbed portion pulls it from their abdomen. There are differences between venomation sites. The eyes and back of the hands are most visible on all but the least sensitive. Most people experience a lesser reaction with each sting. I posted the medical research on previous threads and the moderator deleted my post. I am certified by the State of Florida for Anaphylactic shock treatment and a Combat Lifesaver in the Marine Corps. I will provide the medical documentation in a private post if you ask.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    elmira new york
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    89

    Default Re: Got a sting - BAD reaction - advice needed!

    just today took about 8 stings at least and the itchy parts as well as feeling likw i had a head cold, throat was a bit tite but not too bad, benadrayl and 30 min i was startin to feel better

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Los Angeles, CA
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: Got a sting - BAD reaction - advice needed!

    Any info that you might be able to forward would be most appreciated. It has me worried, but since I did not experience the throat swelling, I was hoping it was a bad spider bite or something else. My email is hofmann@filmvehicle.com
    Thanks!!
    Steve
    It just seems strange that this reaction is so different from anything I have ever experienced before. Are bee stings cumulative?? Can one develop an allergy at 45? Lotsa questions....

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Bay City, MI, USA
    Posts
    87

    Default Re: Got a sting - BAD reaction - advice needed!

    GO SEE YOUR DOC!!! To answer your question, yes, you can develop an allergy late in life. My father was never allergic to bees (he was allergic to dang near everything else, though) until just a few years ago. Now he is. Go to an allergist, and get tested (it's very easy and only slightly irritating). If you are, they can give you a weekly shot to try to de-sensitize you. If it's something else, they can usually identify that, too. Either way, I'd carry the epi-pen with me, just in case. The next reaction may be much more severe and much quicker. Better to be safe than sorry....

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Outagamie County, Wisconsin USA
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    889

    Default Re: Got a sting - BAD reaction - advice needed!

    Buzzy,

    Please see my recent post on Bee Sting Question (Apitherapy Forum). You had a racing heart which is a symptom of Anaphylactic shock and it may get progressively worse and can be life threatening. Whatever bit or stung you caused this, and it may not have been a honeybee. See your doctor. In the meantime keep the epi pen with you. Take Benedryll asap, use the epi pen and get to the ER immediately if it happens again. This is nothing to fool with.

    If you are allergic to honeybee venom, you can be desensitized in about 2 weeks. Many people are allergic to wasp stings and are fine with honeybee stings. You may not have to give up your hive afterall. You need to be checked for allergy to HONEYBEE venom.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
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    Orland Park, Illinois, USA
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    87

    Default Re: Got a sting - BAD reaction - advice needed!

    You can also try taking a beny before you go to work with your bees,
    Your sting might have been from other than a bee,
    Consult with your doctor at your earliest,
    I had to extract from my hives on a rainy day and they were very agresive
    that time and wound up with about 15 - 20 stings on my hands, the feeling
    is wormth and tingling along with very little itch.
    I usualy will have a pair of skinny tweesers and use them.
    My last extraction was a must because they had no more room.
    If you had prev. stings and no reaction or at least a little, it must have been
    other than a bee.
    Please consult with your doctor soon.

    I also recomend that you store your bee suit and gloves reversed so that
    when you have to use it you have to turn it right side out.
    Sometimes you might have a spider or other nest it self in a sleve or glove
    and when you put it on it has no way to escape and after a while you
    wind up with a sting or a bite.
    Good luck!
    Last edited by Gregory and Susan Fariss; 06-18-2011 at 06:37 AM. Reason: a sting in the head can go to your feet

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
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    Grosse Ile, Michigan, USA
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    2,834

    Default Re: Got a sting - BAD reaction - advice needed!

    I agree with some others that this does not appear to be a honey bee sting reaction, since you have been stung before with no unusual symptoms. I would definitely carry your medication with you just in case, you need to find out soon if honey bees are the problem though. Just my opinion.
    Last edited by Gregory and Susan Fariss; 06-18-2011 at 06:40 AM. Reason: Serious reactions can develop at any time.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Richmond,Virginia,USA
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    9

    Default Re: Got a sting - BAD reaction - advice needed!

    First of all I am not a doctor. I have been listening to Amber Rose [http://foreveramberrose.com/ ] who does acubeetherapy, a combined acupuncture and bee sting therapy. She has treated over 10,000 people with bee stings. She states that everyone should have a reaction to bee stings, wasp stings, mosquito bites etc. The fact that you swell up shows your body did respond to the "sting". The labored breathing my be that you are boarderline Anaphylactic. I have never heard of it(Ana.) getting worse. She goes on to say that a person stung needs to have a high dose of vitamin C in them so the body with produce it's own cortizone. She says that humans are the only animal on Earth that do not produce their own vitamin C. I agree with the majority here in that it was probably not a bee that stung you. I have had bees for a total of about 8 years now but this year I would get stung every week just minding my own business as it were. I also did remove bees in a breezeway ceiling that I was sweating, covered with some honey and the bees stung through my suit and I counted about 20 stings on my back. They were red and about the size of the old 50 cent pieces. Adreneline did kick in and I felt the "rush" followed by some harder breathing due to the agreneline. It was my body's way of winding down much like a caffene rush. Oh, and of all the people Amber Rose has treated....NONE have had a Anaphylactic response. Ice chunk or ice pack on the sting area always help. Reclining also would have kept the swelling down some too. Benedryl only blocks the body's ability to make cortizone in a response. Since you can keep your bees now I would suggest an occasional purposeful sting. I have yet to plunge into the sting therapy for myself but the many benefits outway the minor discomfort. Peace
    Last edited by Gregory and Susan Fariss; 06-18-2011 at 06:43 AM.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
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    Outagamie County, Wisconsin USA
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    889

    Default Re: Got a sting - BAD reaction - advice needed!

    Please check out the "Anxiety or Allergy?" thread on the Bee Forum of this site. I will repeat just a small portion of my post on that thread:

    There is a lot of good information and experiences being related on this thread and a few others which helps people be informed and helps them be prepared to handle the situation correctly. I hope to alleviate fear of getting stung also. Sometimes the unknown is scary.

    An allergic reaction to a bee sting would be at least one of the following: 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 asap. Benedryll is important also.

    A local reaction would not have the above allergic 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/throat. Get to the ER for any breathing issues.

    -------------------

    An apitherapist trained us to ice the site prior to stinging. It helps to knock down that initial punch of a sting and make it very tolerable or sometimes almost painless. You will feel it a little longer, but the pain is greatly reduced. She also told us if a site is tender after the stings, to put heat on it. They heat up cloth rice bags in the microwave and apply to relieve "pain" at the site. I don't bother anymore with heat as I only needed it once or twice. After I built up to the venom, I have had 12 stings on the ankle and had no itching, no swelling..... just felt a little burn for a while. Not bad. Actually, kinda feels good!

    Anyone who has been stung (un-iced) by a honeybee would say that the pain is intense but goes away quickly. I don't sting without ice first! LOL Ice makes a big difference.

    Bee venom is a wonderful thing. It stimulates the immune system, increases blood flow to the sting site bringing more oxygen and other chemicals to that area promoting healing and pain relief. It also triggers the brain to send out signals to other organs of the body to do their job releasing more chemicals into the body. Bee venom contains some chemicals that are already present in our own body and are necessary.
    Last edited by Gregory and Susan Fariss; 06-18-2011 at 06:46 AM.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Prairie Township, Ohio, USA
    Posts
    14

    Default Re: Got a sting - BAD reaction - advice needed!

    Buzzy,

    Let us know how this all works out for you. I've been stung who knows how many times but a new hive I've got seems more potent or something. The last few stings have swollen like none before and the one I got Sunday while string trimming (not near the hive, I just pinched her between my hand and body as I was working) matched your experience. Itchy hands and feet and soon after my lips felt like they were swelling. When my face felt hot I stopped working and soon after tried to barf (no laundry dangers for me though). Within about 20 min I was fine except the sting area.
    Has me a bit concerned.
    For a moment the Goat pondered and then......BAP!
    With a swift head butt he resolved the issue.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    weed, california
    Posts
    8

    Default Re: Got a sting - BAD reaction - advice needed!

    I'm the beekeepers wife and helper (the honey lady). Always had a painful swelling reaction so I was reluctant to get stung for the first 6 years. I think I was a victim of developing the wrong antibodies against the sting. Had several bad reactions over the past 2 years (itchy feet, fainting, nausea, hives, severe congestion, etc). I was tested a 4 on a 1-6 for honeybee allergy. Low for the other stinging insects. For 9 months now I have been "stung" at the allergist office once a week ($25/visit plus venom costs). I have an asthmatic reaction most of the time in the office about 15 min. later. They tell me it can take 3 years to desensitize! Would like to try accupunture with it but haven't researched this in my area yet. Has anyone been desensitized with bee venom? I'll keep it up and carry my epi pen, liquid benedryl when I'm around the bees. Will let you know if it works in 3 years!

  14. #14
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    Aug 2005
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    Silicon Valley, CA
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    Default Re: Got a sting - BAD reaction - advice needed!

    I am currently on "maintanence" therapy. I get a shot every 2 weeks now at 100% strength. My allergist insists that I take either a Claritin or a Zyrtec, along with a Singulair tablet 1-2 hrs before getting the shots.

    I don't know about your medical coverage. I am on Kaiser and it costs $3 per visit for the allergy shots. Yes that is $3 for the shot total. Visits to the doctor are $25.
    But then there is the monthly insurance cost and that can vary whether you are in a group plan or individual. You would have to check their website.

  15. #15
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    North Tazewell, Virginia
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    Default Re: Got a sting - BAD reaction - advice needed!

    Buy a eppy pin

  16. #16
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    May 2008
    Location
    Snowmass, Colorado, USA
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    Default Re: Got a sting - BAD reaction - advice needed!

    Yeah...what everyone said and best to find out what it was that caused the reaction instead of just guessing. One thing is certain is that, based on your elevated heart rate and the nausia is that you had a fairly good reaction to something. The epi pen is a good idea, but the real question is how far are you from medical care? If you are a good distance, I would recommend that you carry more than one or take a course on how to get more than the initial dose from your epi pen. (You can actually get about three doses from a pen, but for the second and third you have to disassemble the pen and manually inject.)
    Life is tough, but it's tougher when you're stupid. John Wayne

  17. #17
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    May 2010
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    Nelson, South Island, New Zealand
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    Default Re: Got a sting - BAD reaction - advice needed!

    My daughter is highly allergic to bee stings, an allergy can develop at anytime even if you have been stung 1000 times over 20 years it can still happen.
    We carry fast acting antihistamines in our truck at all times and have them in our house also.
    This isn't just for our daughter it's for any of us or our friends that might have a reaction.
    We were told by the doctor at the hospital that after she gets a sting she is to take the anti hystamines first and monitor her closely for 20 mins if she starts to show signs of full body reaction and her breathing becomes wheezy we are to use the epi pen which has adrenalin in it.

    As others have said it's normal to have localised swelling itching and redness around the sting site it's not normal to have swelling itchiness hives in areas not directly affected by the sting,
    If your breathing starts to get wheezy and you feel faint you are in dangerous territory, your blood pressure has dropped and the airsacs in your lungs are constricting as they do when you get asthma.

    The Epipen is supposed to be kept cool so it's not the easiest thing to carry with you especially in the summer.

    My sister is also allergic to bee stings and has gone through the desensitising unfortunately she got worse after each treatment not better, so she still goes into anaphyalatic shock if she gets stung.
    My brother was allergic to bees stings up until he was a teenager he also would go into anaphylatic shock but he came right with the desensitising and is now a beekeeper.

    They say it's a good idea to wash your beegear seperately from any family washing even give your machine a rinse out after using it for a beegear wash.

    You need to go back to your doctor and get it sorted dont muck around with it.

    frazz

  18. #18
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    Nov 2009
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    Rochester Hills, Michigan
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    Default Re: Got a sting - BAD reaction - advice needed!

    I was stung yesterday and had a full body reaction. Itchy groin, feet, pale face, and rapid heart rate. Nasal breathing was constricted though breathing through my throat was not affected.

    It freaked out my family and girlfriend and me for that matter. I would hate to give up beekeeping. The first time I got stung no reaction my first year they seemed to get progressively worse all localized though. Then last winter I was at a beekeepers conference and had an apitherapist give me a test sting and I had a slight systemic reaction. Last year I suited up pretty good but still got to stings and had little to no reaction.

    THe one yesterday was pretty severe and had me scared.

    Any suggestions? I would love to see an allergist but I do not have health insurance and think it could be cost prohibitive.

    Thanks in andvance to responses.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Got a sting - BAD reaction - advice needed!

    c2weech,

    The next one could kill you if you are unprepared. You need to have liquid benedryl with you while tending bees. Do not wait for a reaction. Stop what you are doing and take the benedryl if you get stung. OR you can take a zyrtec at least an hour before you begin to tend the bees. You also need to have an epi-pen available just in case the above doesn't work. It may get you to the emergency room in time.

    Allergic beekeeper -- Fuzzy
    Last edited by Fuzzy; 05-10-2011 at 03:38 PM. Reason: typing error

  20. #20
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    Jun 2010
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    Bay City, MI, USA
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    Default Re: Got a sting - BAD reaction - advice needed!

    SEE AN ALLERGIST!!!! It's less cost-prohibitive than major medical expenses or a funeral. Get an Epi pen and stay suited up.

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