I've kept bees for almost 20 years now and never had a problem. I don't particularly enjoy getting stung and don't go out of my way to encourage it, but usually I get stung a number of times each season, probably less than 50 times per year all told though. Usually the reaction is confined to a local one with minimal swelling if any at all and a red spot that quickly fades. I have just about 50 hives now.
Yesterday I was working in the bee yard applying meds. Weather was warm, not much breeze, bees seemed in a good mood generally. For unknown reasons one hive wasn't in such a good mood though, as when I lifted one of the boxes off the stack a number of bees immediately attacked. Within a few seconds, I received approximately 10 - 15 stings through my bee suit, on the tops of my shoulders and on my sides under my arms. About 10 minutes later I began to have a systemic allergic reaction. I'm recording the symptoms here for future reference. Any questions or comments feel free.
Intense itching of palms, later spreading to the whole body generally
Feeling of lips swelling, although this wasn't perceptible visually
Weakness almost to the point of fainting
Urge to defecate
Muscle cramps and intestinal cramps (rather painful)
Redness of skin over whole body
Slight feeling of having a lump in my throat
Visual and acoustic disturbances, notably a "whiteout" of the visual field almost to the point of blindness
Sense of possible impending death
Notably, there was NO swelling, vomiting, heart racing, or difficulty in breathing. Previously, I was under the impression that difficulty in breathing was the most common symptom of an allergic reaction. Apparently this only occurs sporadically, or maybe only in more severe cases.
Symptoms passed completely after approximately 1 - 1.5 hours, with no residual indication of having been stung other than small red spots at sting sites.
Does this mean I must now be wary of stings forever? Apparently not. Was stung twice more today, with no reaction other than the usual red spots.