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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Sde-Boqer, Israel
    Posts
    196

    Default Alergic reaction?

    Hi all,

    Im a beekeeper for 3 years and got stung from time to time (Maybe 2-4 stings per month).

    Today i checked my 26 hives and in the middle of the work i got stung in my leg.
    I didnt stop working of course but after 20 minutes i became little bit weak, my eyes was wet, i had runny nose,
    feeling also my throat like infected (dry and hard swallow) and my eyelashes got swelled

    I was afraid that this is the start for an alergic reaction and drove home immediatly
    because i forgot my Epipen injector there.

    After 3 hours i still have these symptoms except of runny nose and wet eyes.
    I will go to the Doc next week but would like to ask if anybody had a similar
    situation ?


    Thanks,
    Randi, Israel

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Corvallis, OR
    Posts
    223

    Default Re: Alergic reaction?

    Any time there are symptoms away from the location of the sting (like you describe), it is an allergic reaction. In my experience I had more of a full-body flush and itching than respiratory symptoms, but everyone's experience is a bit different.

    Probably best to get tested for bee allergy and go through desensitization shots if you indeed allergic. Allergic reactions are unpredictable - one time you might have mild symptoms and the next time you could stop breathing.

    Mark

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Albuquerque, New Mexico
    Posts
    192

    Default Re: Alergic reaction?

    I have a confirmed allergy, but my symptoms always include respiratory problems, swelling of throat and lips, light headedness, dropping blood pressure, high heart beat, hives and itching all over. Not fun at all. Sounds like you are having a mild allergic reaction. I agree with Luterra, get tested and start desensitization. I am hoping to start my desensitization treatments in a few weeks.

    Ted

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Forest grove, Ore USA
    Posts
    192

    Default Re: Alergic reaction?

    That's a systemic reaction and should not be taken lightly. Carry your epi pen all the time and do look into desensitization. I started my desensitization series today.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Rockford, MI
    Posts
    2,587

    Default Re: Alergic reaction?

    I have an allergic reaction as well. Mine is more of the area swelling, turning red and hot.
    My doc advised me to drink a half of a bottle of benydryl. After the adverse effects (doped up) first dose, I cut that in half! lol
    Works well for me now.

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

    Default Re: Alergic reaction?

    Careful with the Epi pen.
    Epi pens are for full blown anaphylaxis, primarily to keep your blood pressure up.
    If you're not having a SEVERE reaction, it could be the wrong thing to use.
    You could actually overspeed your heart.

    Mr Beeman does what I do.
    I always have a bottle of liquid Benadryl in my carryall, and at home, and at the cottage.
    It is absorbed quickly, does the job, and is much cheaper.

    Go see your doctor, and talk about the Epi pen, and the Benadryl.
    Ask when you should use each; what the threshhold is for using the Epi pen.
    Knowledge is power; you don't want to be dead wrong.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Sde-Boqer, Israel
    Posts
    196

    Default Re: Alergic reaction?

    thanks alot for the care and the useful information. I am on my way to check if i am allergic and i pray that its just a mistake because i looove this hobby.
    thanks again,
    randi

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Albuquerque, New Mexico
    Posts
    192

    Default Re: Alergic reaction?

    Randi, being allergic doesn't mean you have to give it up. You have to be a lot more careful. I am still very active and plan to double my hive count next year if at all possible. I am looking forward to desensitization so I don't have to worry so much about the bees.

    Ted

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Phoenixville, PA
    Posts
    579

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Chennai, India
    Posts
    18

    Default Re: Alergic reaction?

    I got stung 4 times so far. During the second time, I got instant headache and lasted a day. Usually, the area swells and during the second day it pains a lot with heavy swelling. Nearly on 3rd or 4th day, system gets back to normal. Are there benefits to bee sting? I get a feeling that I am headache free now, but not sure!

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, USA
    Posts
    5,347

    Default Re: Alergic reaction?

    Well, I have almost no systemic or local reaction to bee stings. It has been this way as long as I can remember. I wish it were true for other things, too. I once had a severe anaphylactic response to penicillin, and recently developed an almost as severe reaction to the aflatoxin in roasted peanuts. I dearly love peanuts, but it looks like I will never be able to eat them again. My recent exposure to about a cup of dry roasted peanuts, caused many horrible symptoms, even shutting down my kidneys for almost two days. But if I ever develop an allergy to seafood, I'm probably going to die soon afterwards.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Sde-Boqer, Israel
    Posts
    196

    Default Re: Alergic reaction?

    Hi all,

    Well, i did the allergy tests and Unfortunately it is possitive
    from the first test (the lowest concentration of venom).

    The doctor clearly explain me that beekeeping is a big risk for
    me and i should avoid getting closer to bees. Its weared that my millions
    girls became an enemy now
    I started the first desensitization treatment and realy think to sell
    the hives and come back to bussines in two years - we can plan and god is
    Laughing ))

    Randi, Israel

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Albuquerque, New Mexico
    Posts
    192

    Default Re: Alergic reaction?

    Don't give up! Just get a good suit. I still work my bees, I just have to be really careful.

    Ted

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Corvallis, OR
    Posts
    223

    Default Re: Alergic reaction?

    It shouldn't take two years. If all goes well desensitization takes about three months to reach the full dose. At that point you can usually be stung with no allergic response, though it is important to keep an epi-pen on hand and avoid getting multiple stings (i.e. wear a good suit). IMHO working with bees while still highly allergic (like Ted) is a bit crazy, but folks do it...

    I had an allergic reaction September 2011, started desensitization in October and reached full dose in early January. Started stinging myself weekly at that point to build up further resistance. At this point I've had about 50 stings this year with no hint of allergic response.

    Mark

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Norfolk, VA
    Posts
    166

    Default Re: Alergic reaction?

    What are the shots? Is it possible to desensitize on your own?

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Sde-Boqer, Israel
    Posts
    196

    Default Re: Alergic reaction?

    I admit that i afraid to take even a small chance of systematic reaction but...
    Here they are saying that i have to reach 2 doses to get to the maintenance treatment
    which mean a shot per two month and not 1 week.

    The doctor also said to me that after being treated in desensitization i will have
    a 10% of chance to have an anaphylactic response compare to 60% now
    when i am highly allergic.
    Taydeko, it's very encouraging to hear about coming back to work so fast after treatment
    but what happened when you are getting stung more then one dose (time) while working,
    it can be dangerous for you?

    Thanks allot,
    Randi, Israel

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Corvallis, OR
    Posts
    223

    Default Re: Alergic reaction?

    The shots are simply increasing doses of bee venom, starting very small. The regimen works by promoting production of non-allergic IgG antibodies rather than allergy-causing IgE antibodies.

    My regimen was as follows (mcg = micrograms of venom):
    #1 .002 mcg ~ 1/25000 of a sting
    #2 .004 mcg ~ 1/12500 of a sting
    #3 .02 mcg ~ 1/2500
    #4 .04 mcg ~ 1/1250
    #5 .1 mcg ~ 1/500
    #6 .25 mcg ~ 1/200
    #7 .5 mcg ~ 1/100 (1%) of a sting
    #8 1 mcg ~ 2% of a sting
    #9 2.5 mcg ~5% of a sting
    #10 5 mcg ~10%
    #11 10 mcg ~20%
    #12 20 mcg ~40%
    #13 40 mcg ~80% of a sting
    #14 60 mcg ~1.2 stings
    #15 80 mcg ~1.6 stings
    #16 (full dose) 100 mcg ~2 stings

    For allergic individuals, there is no home substitute for clinical desensitization as bee venom extracts are not available to the public. Non-allergic individuals may have success decreasing swelling/sting response and minimizing the likelihood of allergy development by keeping up a regimen of frequent (~weekly) stings.

    As for Ted (taydeko), he hasn't been desensitized yet - he just has a high risk tolerance and trust in his epi-pen :-)

    And as for that 10% risk of anaphylaxis after treatment figure, that only applies to the first few stings. Once you have reached the maintenance dose and have been stung several times with no allergic response, the risk of allergic response to future stings (assuming one sting at a time and continuation of maintenance-dose injections) is much less than 10%.

    Mark

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Norfolk, VA
    Posts
    166

    Default Re: Alergic reaction?

    Thanks Mark. About 10 years ago I had a severe anaphylaxis resonse to "something" that had me in the hospital for two days. We never identified what it was. Definately not a sting. The doc said that we may never know what it was that caused it, and that it may never happen again. He gave me an Epi-pen, but that is long expired and I threw it away.
    To be safe I am thinking about going in and get tested. I guess the other option is to just get stung and see what happens.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Albuquerque, New Mexico
    Posts
    192

    Default Re: Alergic reaction?

    As Luterra said, I haven't started desensitization yet. Me crazy? Probably. I have lots of confidence in my suit. I am getting a scratch test next week and hopefully will start desensitization soon after that. Thanks for the description of the shots, Luterra. I have never seen that before. I asked my doctor about "self maintenance" after the full strength of 2 stings is reached. I have read about someone who does that. The doctor said that he wouldn't trust it. How do you know you got an adequate dose to maintain the effect? I suspect that any sting you get helps, but the idea of the maintenance shots is to get a controlled dose to stimulate the immune system properly.

    Ted

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

    Default Re: Alergic reaction?

    One of those "someones" (self-maintenance) is me. I have some scientific support (see the last paragraph of the linked article), but in general allergists don't like the idea of self-administered stings for maintenance therapy. If asked why, they will go on about unmanaged risk (not in a medical setting) and lack of precise dosage, but as there have not been any valid studies looking at self-maintenance they can't give any hard data to back up their statements. I personally favor self-maintenance for four reasons:

    1. Real bee venom contains more compounds than the extracts used by allergists, due to evaporative loss of volatile components during venom collection. There are documented cases of people who have completed immunotherapy but continue to have allergic reactions when stung by actual bees; these folks are clearly allergic to a venom component that is lost during processing. I personally found that, in terms of my body's response, one real sting was the equivalent of about two of their "two-sting" injections. Thus I would rather be desensitized to real bee venom vs. the incomplete extract version. (This difference between extracts and real venom is also a good reason to get your first "sting challenge" in a medical setting, or at least to have your epi-pen ready.)

    2. Weekly stings provide desensitization of local swelling responses in most people. When I started my weekly stings, I would swell for a couple of days. Now my swelling is much less and usually gone in under 12 hours. I find that the less stings affect quality of life, the more I can enjoy beekeeping without worrying about getting stung.

    3. Weekly stings provide peace of mind for me. The natural response after experiencing an allergic reaction is to fear that it will happen again. After about 10 stings that worry abated, and now after 50 weekly stings with no hint of allergy I no longer consider myself allergic to bees.

    4. Allergy shots take time and money. I don't expect that I am getting exactly 50 micrograms from each bee, but I do leave the stinger in for five minutes or so to make sure I get whatever that bee has to offer, and I don't believe that precise dosage is all that important for immune stimulus except in the early phases of desensitization when too high a dose could trigger anaphylaxis.



    To be fair, there is no reason a person couldn't self-administer weekly stings while continuing to receive maintenance-dose injections. I did that for about six months, until June this year. In addition to the monthly bill, I was annoyed by the allergist's unwillingness to consider the benefit of self-administered stings, the requirement to stay in the office for 30 minutes "just in case" I had an allergic response this time (cell phone Scrabble got a bit old), and the rule that they couldn't inject less than 48 hours after a sting (which I lied about a couple of times). I guess what bothered me the most was their perspective that they had diagnosed me with a chronic condition and that I would always be allergic to bees, whereas I considered myself cured once I had reached maintenance dose and tolerated ~20 stings with no allergic response.

    I should add that my allergic response (whole-body hives, itching, racing pulse) came on slowly and was not judged to be life-threatening. I think if I had experienced a life-threatening reaction I would have been more likely to continue the maintenance injections for the recommended 3-5 years.

    Finally, I recommend that all beekeepers experiencing allergy read this article, written by a beekeeper MD and compiling much of the available scientific research into a readable form:

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

    Mark
    Last edited by Luterra; 11-08-2012 at 12:01 PM. Reason: Forgot to link to article

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