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  1. #21
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
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    Crenshaw County, Alabama
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    1,988

    Default Re: My Systemic Allergic Reaction Experience

    Adam, lots of recommendations from folks, but I don't think any are qualified to prescribe anything to you (even if one is a doctor...because they haven't examined you)...but, they all do have your best interest at heart. So, here comes some more information from a non-qualified person.

    I'm sure other things can cause it, but your mention of needing to have a bowel movement worries me. My mother and I carried my father to a doctor because of chest pains he was having...doc did a quick EKG and called an ambulance for him. While waiting my father said he had to have a bowel movement...the doctor frowned when he heard him say this. I had to stand guard with him while he *tried* "to go". He eventually left the hospital 44 days later in a body bag. A few years later a customer of mine was missing his main worker (tire business), nobody new where he had gone. Finally, at closing time someone peeked into the warehouse bathroom to turn the light out....there sat the missing guy dead on the toilet from a heart attack.

    My sister just had a coronary computed tomography angiogram, or CTA for short. This is mostly a non-invasive test, an IV is connected for the contrast dye to be administered. The test takes probably 1/2 half hour compared to several hours for a heart cath. My sister paid $780 for the test and it took a load of worry off her shoulders when she got a good report. You would want to have blood work done beforehand to be sure of general chemical/organic body conditions....the dye used in the test could wipe out weak kidneys (my brother was a transplant recipient and my mother on dialysis the last years of her life...she found out she had kidney failure when she was about to have a heart cath!).

    Here's a link to a description of a CTA, the article is clinic specific but gives a good overview of the test: http://my.clevelandclinic.org/heart/...ronarycta.aspx

    Best wishes, Adam, take care of yourself so you can continue to take care of those you love.

    Ed

    PS One more link to a CTA article...on WebMD: http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/c...m-ct-angiogram
    Last edited by Intheswamp; 07-29-2012 at 11:14 AM. Reason: added link to WebMD

  2. #22
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Eugene, OR USA
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    11

    Default Re: My Systemic Allergic Reaction Experience

    Thanks to all for the advice and good wishes.

    honeyshack: Good luck to you on the tests and let's hope you can continue with the bees. I've heard $100 quoted for epi pen but only seen them available at $140, and they need to be renewed every year I believe. So it would be an ongoing expense.

    cerezha: I'm kind of an amateur immunologist myself. My theory is that this bad reaction occurred this time because of the relatively large amount of venom injected at once. Everyone probably has a limit as to how much they can tolerate and it appears this may be mine.

    Mr. Beeman: I've never yet got an infection from a sting but I've seen several reports of this. Thanks for the heads up.

    joan: Yes, I think you're right about the amount of venom. That was probably a factor here. I've seen the statement that each sting from a honeybee delivers between 5 and 50 micrograms of venom, which would mean that in this incident I may have received up to 750 micrograms. That's an amount far in excess of what is usually used in desensitization programs by allergists, I believe.

    saltyoldman and Michael Pawalek: Yes, I probably should upgrade my suit. I never really thought about it but it makes sense that the protection would degrade as the material in the suit ages. If I wear thick clothing beneath the suit that will make it virtually stingproof, but of course I'm reluctant to do that on hot days. A contributory factor here was the fact that I wasn't wearing a shirt underneath the suit, and the suit itself, in addition to being old, was also drenched with sweat and sticking to me. Under those circumstances it provides only light protection.

    alpha6: Yes, like you I'm not an alarmist. I live in a remote location so driving myself to the ER isn't really going to be an option, nor would it be wise considering the symptoms and the suddeness of their onset. Building up a tolerance is good advice, but of course any tolerance can be overwhelmed if the exposure is great enough. I'm not sure if the symptomology of death by bee venom is different from that of death from an allergic reaction. It could all be a matter of amount of venom injected, and it may be that pure terror provides some protective benefit. In researching this, I found one story about a fellow who sustained 3,000 stings from Africanized bees and lived. He must have been terrified though; with plenty of adrenaline in his system he had a natural epipen. This might also explain why the incidence of allergic reactions is often stated to be higher in beekeepers and their families than it is in the population at large. One would think that the constant exposure would result in building up a tolerance leading to a total immunity (the whole theory of desensitization), but apparently that's not the case. Maybe it's the blase attitude about being stung we acquire after a while that works against us.

    Intheswamp: A lot of people die on the toilet, apparently because of the increase in vascular pressure while straining to have a bowel movement. In this case fortunately I was able to make it to a toilet and had no trouble. Quickly started to feel better after that so perhaps that is one way the body gets rid of the venom? Or it could simply have been coincidence.

  3. #23
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Lake County Ill
    Posts
    390

    Default Re: My Systemic Allergic Reaction Experience

    Just out of curiosity how did you get stung so many times through your bee suit?
    Isn't that what a suite is intended to prevent? What type of suit were you wearing?
    Why didn't you cal 911 or seek emergency treatment. Your situation is somewhat unusual .

  4. #24
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Neodesha, KS
    Posts
    93

    Default Re: My Systemic Allergic Reaction Experience

    Quote Originally Posted by Adam Smith View Post
    Fieldbee,

    I'm neither an illegal alien nor a gov't worker, so health care isn't free for me and at that price I'm not that curious.
    :

    Mr. Smith I am a state Govt worker and I pay $600 dollars a month for health insurance, please tell me where a Govt worker gets free health care as I will be applying for a job in that location.
    Last edited by mleck; 07-29-2012 at 07:22 PM.

  5. #25
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Augusta County, VA, USA
    Posts
    73

    Default Re: My Systemic Allergic Reaction Experience

    Quote Originally Posted by joan View Post
    Posting as a nurse, not an experienced bee keeper. Many times in the course of receiving multiple stings, you are receiving each bee's maximum amount of venom. These are not "warnings" you are being "attacked". Hence the severe reaction. This could be your LIFE, please, at least have a bottle of liquid benadryl with your hive tool at all times and drink at least half. Yes an EPI-Pen requires medical care both before and after use. Personally I think that would be better than having someone finding you dead, ******, and unrecognizable.
    "...drink at least half..."??? yikes! is that for real? I thought a normal dose was on the order of 25-50mg. I ask seriously because i recently got nailed by a handful of bees, resulting in serious swelling and for the first time ever resorted to some benadryl. I debated how much to take.

  6. #26
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Oshawa, Ontario
    Posts
    200

    Default Re: My Systemic Allergic Reaction Experience

    I had an anaphylactic reaction to penicillan about 5 years ago and crashed...in the hospital.
    I was lucky to walk out...the feeling of impending death ain't just a feeling; you're on your way home to see Elvis.
    I always have a bottle of liquid benadryl in my carryall and at home.
    If I get multiple stings, I'll swat back about 1/4 of the bottle, pronto.
    Don't fool around with this.
    Take care.

  7. #27
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Glencoe, Okla USA
    Posts
    300

    Default Re: My Systemic Allergic Reaction Experience

    I never did see where you were using a smoker, you need to mark that hive and use the smoker!!!!

  8. #28
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Guilford, CT
    Posts
    69

    Default Re: My Systemic Allergic Reaction Experience

    Yes, 1/2 bottle. It is liquid and is absorbed more quickly than tablets. As another poster mentioned, this is a major histamine release reaction, and Benadryl/diphenhydramine is a safe and easily obtained ANTI histamine.

  9. #29
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Farmington, NM
    Posts
    734

    Default Re: My Systemic Allergic Reaction Experience

    Quote Originally Posted by Adam Smith View Post
    The chapter in my copy of "The Hive and the Honey Bee" that deals with allergic reactions is the most complete treatment I've found,
    I couldn't find it in my copy....where did you find it and what page number?
    Plant Hardiness Zone 6B, 5300 ft., Bee Zone A/B, Proverbs 24:13
    https://www.facebook.com/mobileprotection#!/2RBeeFarm

  10. #30
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    brownwood, TX, USA
    Posts
    812

    Default Re: My Systemic Allergic Reaction Experience

    Quote Originally Posted by mleck View Post
    Mr. Smith I am a state Govt worker and I pay $600 dollars a month for health insurance, please tell me where a Govt worker gets free health care as I will be applying for a job in that location.
    Unless you are single and in excellent health, it doesn't seem possible that $600.00 a month would cover your insurance costs. Oh, come to Texas, as my son is a high school teacher and the state pays for his basic insurance coverage.

  11. #31
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Eugene, OR USA
    Posts
    11

    Default Re: My Systemic Allergic Reaction Experience

    In answer to some of the questions above:

    Type of beesuit: Just an ordinary white cotton coverall, plus helmet, veil, and gloves.

    Smoker: I usually don't use one unless I have to, which is seldom. I didn't have one going at the time.

    What page: I have the 2005 edition of "The Hive and the Honey Bee", and this topic is treated in depth on pp. 1209 - 1258.

    Benadryl: Thanks for the recommendation. I'll check into obtaining some.

  12. #32
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Tsawwassen, BC, Canada
    Posts
    239

    Default Re: My Systemic Allergic Reaction Experience

    Since Adam definitely had symptoms of pretty severe anaphylactic shock, it is unnecessary and risky to "just go back to the bees and hope for the best".

    Adam, if you are unwilling to buy and use an EpiPen (which as others have pointed out is far less risky to you if you are truly having a big reaction), then can you at least:

    1. Only work the hive(s) when there is someone else present to monitor you if you have another reaction...and get you to that Emerg or doctor ASAP.

    2. Get a really good beesuit, veil, and gloves.

    2. At least have a bottle of Benadryl around...a few swigs of that would perhaps have saved you the worst of your reaction symptoms, and in a pinch may have been the difference between being able to call for help or not.

    4. Begin practicing a low-intervention style of beekeeping....perhaps a different hive design (Warré?), or a different approach to hives (ie. only work the honey supers, use observation windows etc.)

    5. If you are a backyard hobby beekeeper, sign on for one of the programs where someone else monitors and works your hives in exchange for part of the honey harvest. You can sit back, have a coffee, and watch while THEY get stung!

  13. #33
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Phoenixville, PA
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    579

    Default Re: My Systemic Allergic Reaction Experience

    Here's our recent experience: http://www.beesource.com/forums/show...ung-went-to-ER

    More recently we were in the woods and got hammered by yellow jackets. I must have stepped on the hive. I caught one on the upper lip and cheek and a few on my legs and arms. My son got hit on the belly, lower back and legs. About half dozen each. My son took over the counter antihistamine diphenhydramine hydrochloride (generic Benadryl) within half hour and suffered no more than a non-allergic person. My lip swelled and "made me look funny" for a couple of hours of amusement.

    Per our doctor, once an EpiPen is administered, you're on the your way to the hospital for monitoring.

    Moving forward we're keeping the antihistamine handy and in all cars and take a first aid kit with an EpiPen on every outing. First we'll use the antihistamine and watch closely for symptoms. If symptoms accelerate as we saw in the above thread, we'll use the EpiPen and schlep to the hospital. We haven't encountered a need since.

  14. #34
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Albuquerque, New Mexico
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    192

    Default Re: My Systemic Allergic Reaction Experience

    Adam,

    A similar thing happened to me about 6 weeks ago. I got about 15 to 20 stings on my feet and ankles. I also had similar symptoms. I went to the emergency room and they treated me. I got a prescription for an epi-pen also. I had residual affects for about 2 weeks afterward. I was told to give up beekeeping, that I had an allergy. I am going to see an allergist this week. However, I was stung about 3 days later with no effects at all, other than the normal local reaction. This sting was on my lower lip. Because I had no reaction, I investigated further and found that there are actually three different general kinds of reactions. First is the normal local swelling and itching. Second is the allergic reaction. Third is call a toxic reaction. The toxic reaction is caused by the amount of venom that is injected from multiple stings. It is not an allergic reaction. I believe that I had a toxic reaction. I had swelling in my throat, congestion, nausea, light headedness, itching palms (the first symptom), weakness, and redness over my whole body. Very similar to your symptoms.

    Since you didn't react to the stings you got later, I would suggest that you are not allergic. However, a toxic reaction is thought to increase the likelyhood of an allergic reaction later. I take great care now to avoid getting stung, and I have Epi-Pens available all the time when I am around bees. I am hoping that the allergist will be able to confirm that I am not allergic at my appointment this week.

    Ted

  15. #35
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Outagamie County, Wisconsin USA
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    885

    Default Re: My Systemic Allergic Reaction Experience

    Honey bee venom is not the same as wasp venom and people can be: 1) not allergic to either, 2) allergic to both or 3) only allergic to one or the other.....

    Allergy to bee venom can develop at any time. A person can be tested for this allergy.

    People can become desensitized to honey bee venom and work bees with no problem even though they were previously allergic. Well worth it in my opinion even if they choose to not keep bees anymore.

    Epi pens buy time and if one is used that person should be on their way to the ER pronto. Liquid benedryll should also be taken pronto if there is a problem.

    The general public often mistakes wasps for bees. They often also mistake a lot of local swelling for an allergy. (not saying this is the case for you)

    Beekeepers have a great opportunity to teach their families and also the public to not fear bees and why. Most venom allergies (comparing wasp and bees) are to wasp venom and not bee venom. Percentages are very low, however, you could be one of the few. Know how to deal with it, have a plan, make sure your family knows what to do. Do not panic!

    Bee venom is reported to have medicinal qualities in many different areas (infections, inflammation, nerve damage, pain, cancer, scarring, arthritis, depression, immune system, etc.) Many of the chemicals in bee venom are also present in the human body.

    Apitherapists promote and use products of the hive (honey, propolis, royal jelly, beeswax, bee pollen, bee bread (can be sort of homemade) as well as bee venom) to improve/treat health issues.

  16. #36
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Fall Branch, Tn USA
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    4

    Default Re: My Systemic Allergic Reaction Experience

    During my 2nd year of beekeeping I got stung on the knee-cap, once. I had been stung many times before so I didn’t worry about it. When I got home about 30 minutes later my wife said I looked funny, well more funny than usual. In the next few minutes I broke out in hives across most of my body and my eyes began to swell shut. I took a Benadryl and we decided to go to the Emergency Room. By the time we arrived approximately 45 minutes later my eyes had swelled mostly shut. She had called ahead and they were waiting for me. By the looks on their faces I could tell they were concerned, no paper form filling out or waiting. I am not sure what they gave me, but it was many shots, and IV bags. A few hours later I was free to go and went home.

    I have been stung a few times since them but have only had localized reactions. If I get stung I take two doses of Benadryl, 50ml. The smallest bottle we have at home is 8 oz., so I would not want to take half a bottle as that is almost 125 ml, or 5 times the recommended amount. The reason I take 50 ml is because that is what my doctor recommended. I carry an Epi Pen but have not used it yet. If the Benadryl doesn’t work you can bet I will jab myself and head to the ER.

    I consulted with a local allergist who tested me for venomous insect stings and started a de sensitization program. Turns out I was allergic to white hornets, honey bees, wasps, and fire ants. Only time will tell if it works.

  17. #37
    Join Date
    May 2010
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    Knox Co, Ohio, USA
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    802

    Default Re: My Systemic Allergic Reaction Experience

    Adam,

    Assuming you have a doctor it is always best to run the use of even OTC meds by them for treatment of reactions to stings. I sometimes have a localized reaction to stings. I have a little med kit with Claritin Redi-tabs and Pepcid in it. The redi-tabs dissolve on your tongue and do not cause the drowsiness of benadryl. The H2 blockers like, Pepcid, Tagamet or Zantac will also help reduce the severity of the reaction. Location and number of stings will impact your reaction.

    Be careful,

    Tom

  18. #38
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Santa Monica, CA, USA
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    1,483

    Default Re: My Systemic Allergic Reaction Experience

    I have mixed feelings regarding this thread. It is really nice to see that all people do care and propose solution(s), which are the best in their opinion/experience. From another hand, there is a little hysteria about how important to have epipen for emergency situation. Let me explain my thoughts about this:

    - we had friends visited our house, their son had severe reaction to peanuts (common these days) and they had an epipen. So, we had an accident in our house. Kid had very severe reaction. When we called poison control (and 911), they urged us not to use epipen especially if we are not sure that could use it properly. Apparently, if epipen did not complete its operation (have no idea, I never saw actual epipen), it makes more damage than good. In our case paramedics come withing 2(!) minutes and everything was under control. The point is that epipen needs to be used properly. In emergency situation, there is a chance that person who suppose to provide epipen injection may do it wrongly just because of stress or inexperience.

    - Epipen is not covered by most insurances and there is no "generic" epipen. It tells me that manufacturer of the epipen is taking advantage of all of us, forcing to pay $100+ for chance to be alive. It is very cynical. From another hand, if epipen is so promising, I am sure it will be covered by all insurances. In Russia, we do not have epipen. Could you imagine? 100+ million people surviving without epipen? In Africa,Latin America, Asia - do they have epipen?

    - Adam's reaction was unexpected. I mean, he had no history of sensitivity to bees stung. Moreover, if I understand his original post properly, he is an experienced beekeeper and was stung before many times without any problem. So, his reaction were sudden and unexpected. Other people apparently had a similar situation. It means that practically everyone on this bee-forum, who has exposure to bees, have a chance to have an accident,like Adam had. So, all this recommendations to have epipen handy are directed to YOU - do you have an epipen in your pocket, right now It is not an advertizement of epipen!

    I think, Adam's message was very clear: be aware! and made your own conclusion. My conclusion is:
    - I would use a proper bee-protection especially if I am alone.
    - I would invest in the bottle of the liquid benedryl and keep it in my bee-toolbox, just in case.
    - I personally, would not invest in the epipen for simple reason -it is like my cell-phone, it is never in my pocket (or discharged) when needed!

    Understand me correctly - I am not against epipen. But I am aware that many different accidents may happens and yes, we should be prepared. But you could not be prepared 100% to unexpected and sudden. I wish everyone health and such horrible accident will never happened to YOU!
    Sergey
    Last edited by cerezha; 07-30-2012 at 03:30 PM.

  19. #39
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
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    Pinellass County, Florida
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    1,105

    Default Re: My Systemic Allergic Reaction Experience

    God Blessed you Adam,

  20. #40
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Corvallis, OR
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    223

    Default Re: My Systemic Allergic Reaction Experience

    Hi Adam,

    I'm 40 miles up the road from you. Had an allergic response last September (full body hives and rapid heart rate, though not what I would consider severe), went through desenstization shots, started stinging myself weekly once I reached maintenance dose. Allergist says I should continue the shots for five years. My perspective is why pay $$ to get fake bee stings (since the injection is just bee venom anyway and is supposedly equivalent to about 2 bees) when I can get real stings for free, so I've recently stopped going but plan to continue the regimen of weekly to biweekly stings, leaving the stinger in for five minutes or so to get the full dose. This week I've had more like five stings, only one of which was intentional. My local reactions have decreased somewhat in intensity (less swelling) and dramatically in duration (from ~2 days down to more like 6-12 hours) since I started the sting regimen. I do have an epi-pen and plan to renew it when it expires.

    Whenever I post to an allergy thread I like to contribute these two links, which I find to be the best information on bee sting allergy on the Internet:
    http://www.cals.ncsu.edu/entomology/...06a%20copy.pdf
    http://www.cals.ncsu.edu/entomology/...06b%20copy.pdf

    Mark

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