Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 22
  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Forest grove, Ore USA
    Posts
    192

    Default Beekeeping with allergies

    So I am new to beekeeping (1st year) and have been stung a couple time with some pretty good swelling involved. Saturday I got stung on the back of my hand and the swelling was so severe I went to the E.D. And got prednisone. I am checking into desensitization shots this morning with my primary doctor. Anyone else deal with this?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Lititz, PA, USA
    Posts
    709

    Default Re: Beekeeping with allergies

    How bad was the swelling? Whole arm?

    Were you stung through your gloves?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Portland, OR, USA
    Posts
    100

    Default Re: Beekeeping with allergies

    I seem to swell more than most people. A sting on the forearm swells over a 4-5 inch circle, a sting on the back of my hand makes me look all ham-fisted for about 5 days. Went to an allergist, who said not to worry as long as I wasn't getting light headed or having trouble breathing... I'm not as complacent as all that, but I still don't do anything about it when I get stung. I did get the Epipen prescription he recommended.

    Someone here (on Beesource) said that monthly stings made for worse reactions, but weekly (or daily) stings caused desensitization. I got stung on the back of my right hand two weekends ago, and back of my left hand last weekend. Two weeks ago was as I described, but this recent one isn't anywhere near as bad. I don't know if this is a trend, but I'll keep paying attention...

    Good luck!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, USA
    Posts
    5,347

    Default Re: Beekeeping with allergies

    I get stung usually several times per day, and have almost continuously for most of my life, since age 10, when I first began keeping bees. The only reaction I have to stings, now, is the momentary pain, in the first 15-30 seconds after the sting.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Forest grove, Ore USA
    Posts
    192

    Default Re: Beekeeping with allergies

    Well, I am now going to talk to an allergist about desensitization shots. My day job is firefighting and on shift yesterday I had to go home because my hand swelled so bad that I could not get it into my firefighting glove.

    Joe, I wish I was not sensitive to stings like you.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Beekeeping with allergies

    Give your self time, and a lot of stings. An you to will be most likely part of the no swelling crowd
    David

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Brooklyn, NY
    Posts
    190

    Default Re: Beekeeping with allergies

    I am a newbee and I have been worried about my increased sensitivity too. I swell in about a 6-8 inch radius and is lasts for at least 4 days. I have only been stung about 4 times with weeks in between and each time I react worse. I was wondering if it has anything to do with the time of year. My new method is to cover in multiple layers which is sort of a drag. It seems like there is no hard fast rule for which way sensitivities will go.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Amityville NY
    Posts
    62

    Default Re: Beekeeping with allergies

    steves1967, i too am a first year beek and i'm experiencing the same reaction as you..took 2 stings to hand 4th of july and was in er the next day..thought my hand would explode..i get bad swelling and outrageous itching for several days from most stings..yet some hardly any reaction at all..ive been stung about 20 times since April 2012..I watched the master beekeeper i take classes with get hit at least 30 times in one day and he barely gets a welt the size of an asprin..i think alot has to do with the depth the sting goes in and how long its in before you scrape it out...but i sure hope the reaction deminishes with time, for me getting stung is dreaded, im gearing up like a astronaut when i go into my hives...keep us posted on your desensitation shot effectiveness..thanks

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Albuquerque, New Mexico
    Posts
    192

    Default Re: Beekeeping with allergies

    I was getting less and less sensitive until I got stung about 20 times and had a full anaphylactic reaction. Now, depending on the last time I was stung, I have to go to the hospital every time. I got an UltraBreeze suit and haven't been stung since. It is a bit of a pain to have to suit up all the time, but I can't risk it, and the UltraBreeze is a lot easier to get on and off than my old suit. I am hoping to start the desensitization treatment soon. I have rules for myself about working the bees, like always having someone around who can drive me to the hospital if necessary.

    Your symptoms are considered a severe normal reaction, I think. You might find that the reaction goes down with time as you get stung more. Just avoid a whole bunch of stings at one time. There are also things you can do to mitigate the reaction, like ice and baking powder and things like that.

    Ted

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Forest grove, Ore USA
    Posts
    192

    Default Re: Beekeeping with allergies

    I am getting an epi-pen until I know more about the shot series. I have an appointment on Friday morning.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Carlton,WA,USA
    Posts
    129

    Default Re: Beekeeping with allergies

    It is very important that all new beekeepers understand the following post. Read it carefully.

    Local swelling is NOT an allergic reaction, even if severe. This is a normal immune reaction. Over time, a beekeeper with an immune reaction will experience less and less swelling. So, don't worry.

    An allergic reaction is a total body reaction such as hives. Another danger sign would be difficulty breathing. For a person with an allergic reaction, every subsequent sting will become worse. Even a second sting can be life threatening.

    Remember, is it a local reaction or total body reaction?

    Local swelling the size of a football is not dangerous. But even mild flushing of the whole body is.

    However, there is one situation where local swelling can be life threatening. A sting in the back of the throat can produce local swelling, a normal reaction, that closes off the airway and suffocates the victim. It is more common with yellowjackets. More than once I have been stung in the mouth by a yellowjacket from soda pop or food.

    "Met-How Kraig"

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Amityville NY
    Posts
    62

    Default Re: Beekeeping with allergies

    Methowkraig..i agree and dis agree with u..if u are alergic, u can die from one sting...some with local reaction get worse and worse with each sting...and ur hand the size of a football can get infected which if untreated can be dangerous...but most people i believe mistake local reaction for alergic and very few have no reaction to stings.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Corvallis, OR
    Posts
    223

    Default Re: Beekeeping with allergies

    Quote Originally Posted by MethowKraig View Post
    Local swelling is NOT an allergic reaction, even if severe. This is a normal immune reaction. Over time, a beekeeper with an immune reaction will experience less and less swelling. So, don't worry.
    That is true. However, both local and allergic responses are mediated by the immune system, and if you find that your local swelling is getting larger and lasting longer with each sting, there is an elevated chance that your reactions will progress to allergic full-body response at some point.

    The "normal" response to stings among beekeepers is decreasing reaction, with more swelling in spring after a winter of no stings and less in late summer and fall following a few months of frequent stings. Some beekeepers find that they swell more than average and that their swelling fails to decrease after subsequent stings. That is also "normal" though less common. Increasing swelling response to stings always bears watching, as it can progress to allergy. That was my experience last year.

    Swelling and pain is also dependent on where you get stung. After desensitization and frequent stings I don't swell much anymore when stung on the arms or legs, but I still get painful swelling on the back of my hand if stung there or on the back of my fingers.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Battle Ground, Washington, USA
    Posts
    44

    Default Re: Beekeeping with allergies

    [B]Here,s an excellent article on the subject. Talks a lot about hose of us who have "large local reactions" like you and myself...

    http://www.cals.ncsu.edu/entomology/...06b%20copy.pdf

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Albuquerque, New Mexico
    Posts
    192

    Default Re: Beekeeping with allergies

    Great article, CircleBee!!!

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Portland, OR, USA
    Posts
    100

    Default Re: Beekeeping with allergies

    Excellent, CircleBee, Thanks!

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Frisco Texas
    Posts
    168

    Default Re: Beekeeping with allergies

    I have been a beekeeper for around 20 yrs, two yrs ago I started to get hives from bee stings. Benadryl takes the hives away, plus if I take a liquid form it will stop them from progressing. I now wear a bee suit and I always have Benadryl on hand with me. If I have to work a hive that needs a lot of work, or a hive that is a little temperamental I will take Benadryl an hr before I work the bees.

    Any hive that starts to turn aggressive will be re-queened as soon as possible.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Kaysville, Utah, USA
    Posts
    384

    Default Re: Beekeeping with allergies

    Yes. I have what they call a moderate allergic reaction: localized swelling that gets worse over two days and takes a few days to get better. Itches like crazy and is sore for a few days after the swelling goes away.

    Unfortunately, this means that I'll always have to wear a full suit when I work around the hive.
    Don't provoke a hive full of angry bees.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Keene, NH
    Posts
    35

    Default Re: Beekeeping with allergies

    I think the venom of my bees this time of year (late summer/autumn) makes me have a larger local reaction than I have gotten earlier in the season..... But it usually resolves in a few days...

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Battle Ground, Washington, USA
    Posts
    44

    Default Re: Beekeeping with allergies

    Yeah, that article has gone a long ways to pleading my case to my wife who kept looking at me like I was crazy/risking my life every time I get stung and swelled up. A couple of things I found interesting from that article is that those with large local reactions are actually quite unlikely to have an anaphaylactic reaction later down the road (more ammo with the wife!). And that immunotherapy/allergies shots aren't recommended for us.

    So far ive only been stung on the forearm and legs. And yes, when I get stung it's initially painful and I get a small welt, then 24 hours later I can hardly walk I'm so swollen in the area. Swelling, redness, and a itch that is awful, lasting about 4 days. God help me if I ever get it to the face. So for those who get on here and push no veils, gloves or other protective equipment, I find that poor to reckless advice. I'll get off my soap box... Glad you found the article worthwhile!

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Ads