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  1. #21
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Cream Ridge, New Jersey, USA
    Posts
    31

    Default Re: Does venom immunotherapy (VIT) work? (I need real world advice)

    Ok. Reporting back. Tested positive yesterday for all five venoms. Starting immunotherapy shots next week. The doctor was very encouraging. He told me I didn't need to give up my hobby. He said it is 95% effective, but he's never seen anyone have a systemic reaction after completing the treatment. I purchased a full-suit (ultrabreeze) and have Epi pens. However, I am still a little nervous to be around the bees at this point. Did anyone start working with the bees again before treatment?

  2. #22
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Earlysville, Virginia USA
    Posts
    125

    Default Re: Does venom immunotherapy (VIT) work? (I need real world advice)

    I worked my bees in full suit with gloves being very very careful to use smoke and not piss my bees off. I thankfully was able to avoid any stings until I got up to the "maintenance shot" level. My doc would not give me shots the same day I got a real sting. After a few months I stopped wearing gloves and now I almost try to get stung once a week....which is not a problem at all this time of year!

  3. #23
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Gloucester County, New Jersey
    Posts
    287

    Default Re: Does venom immunotherapy (VIT) work? (I need real world advice)

    I had the exact same thing happen 2 years ago . The hospital didn't give me EPI shot because breathing wasn't affected. I talked to my family doc and she advised me against immunotherapy saying, "why knowingly load your system with a known allergen that can have life threatening effects? That's like playing Russian Roulette."

    I fired her and hired a new family doctor. Surely he would agree with me. Nope! He said the same thing. He said wear the best suit on the market (I have Ultrabreeze), keep an Epi, Benadryl, Pred, Zyrtec, on hand. I still want to see an allergist and at least talk to them.
    I've been stung 3-4 times since without reaction. My blood tested at 0.6 for honey bee. How about yours?

  4. #24
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Cream Ridge, New Jersey, USA
    Posts
    31

    Default Re: Does venom immunotherapy (VIT) work? (I need real world advice)

    Quote Originally Posted by Eddie Honey View Post
    I had the exact same thing happen 2 years ago . The hospital didn't give me EPI shot because breathing wasn't affected. I talked to my family doc and she advised me against immunotherapy saying, "why knowingly load your system with a known allergen that can have life threatening effects? That's like playing Russian Roulette."

    I fired her and hired a new family doctor. Surely he would agree with me. Nope! He said the same thing. He said wear the best suit on the market (I have Ultrabreeze), keep an Epi, Benadryl, Pred, Zyrtec, on hand. I still want to see an allergist and at least talk to them.
    I've been stung 3-4 times since without reaction. My blood tested at 0.6 for honey bee. How about yours?
    I went through the series of under the skin shots. I reacted on the third of four shots which increased concentration at each level. I don't recall the concentration though. I'm really surprised they advised against immunotherapy. My response to the doctors would be, why continue to expose myself to something when there is a treatment which can totally reverse my condition!

  5. #25
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Gloucester County, New Jersey
    Posts
    287

    Default Re: Does venom immunotherapy (VIT) work? (I need real world advice)

    Got stung 4 hours ago while sitting in my office chair! Apparently there was a honey bee on the underside of my forearm and when I placed it on the armrest of my office chair she tagged me. So far just a 3-4" local reaction. I took a zyrtec and a pred.

  6. #26
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    49,280

    Default Re: Does venom immunotherapy (VIT) work? (I need real world advice)

    ABC and XYZ of Bee Culture 1945 edition under the heading of "Stings" page 595 last paragraph on the page:

    "An interesting case came under observation. H.H. Root, on the editorial staff of this work, when as a boy he was stung, became so affected that his body would break out in great red blotches; his breathing grew difficult, and his heart began to pound. It was really a question whether there was not danger of losing his life. Nevertheless, he was very desirous of engaging in beekeeping, and determined to work with bees. A live bee was pressed on the back of his hand until it merely pierced his skin with the sting. It was removed immediately, and since no serious effect followed another single prick was administered after four or five days. This was continued for some three or four weeks, when the patient began to have a sort of itching sensation all over his body. The hypodermic injections of bee-sting poison were then discontinued. At the end of a month they were repeated at intervals of four or five days. Again after two or three weeks the itching sensation came on, but it was less pronounced. The patient was given a rest of about a month, when the does were repeated as before. He then went away to school and was not back for eight or nine months. On his return the applications were given again, when it was plainly noticeable that the after-effects were becoming markedly less. He then went out into the bee-yard and was stung occasionally, but beyond a small local swelling, there was no unpleasant effect.

    "Some months afterward he was assisting at one of the yards when, without warning a colony of bees that was being handled made a most furious attack on both the men. Young Root received a dozen stings all over his body. He had neither veil nor gloves, for the other man was doing the work with the bees. He expected serious consequences; but, greatly to his surprise and gratification, no unpleasant effects followed. What was more, there was no swelling. It should be remembered that H.H. Root used to be so seriously affected that a single sting would cause his parents to worry, for they feared he would not be able to survive the shock. He now handles bees with the same freedom that any experienced beekeeper does."
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  7. #27
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Quincy, Illinois, USA
    Posts
    321

    Default Re: Does venom immunotherapy (VIT) work? (I need real world advice)

    Quote Originally Posted by njrunner View Post
    Very excited to hear this. You are still going to work with the bees before the treatment is complete?
    Odd, I just got notified today of your response.
    In answer to your question. Yes. I've captured and housed two swarms, done some regular maintenance, feeding, pulling supers, etc. All in complete cover head to toe. I also have an Epi pen with me at all times, even when not in the bee yard. I have had two shots so far, so just the beginning of the treatment.
    Continuing with beekeeping, sure at this time there are risks. Just like sky diving there are risks, or racing motorcycles or Nascar. It's a choice to continue on with something I love to do. That's how I look at it, I choose to live what life I have. The VIT will get me back to a more "normal" reaction if it works. Some may think I'm stubborn or stupid, or maybe both. And I'm sure there are those who understand.

  8. #28
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Cream Ridge, New Jersey, USA
    Posts
    31

    Default Re: Does venom immunotherapy (VIT) work? (I need real world advice)

    Quote Originally Posted by BeePappy View Post
    Odd, I just got notified today of your response.
    In answer to your question. Yes. I've captured and housed two swarms, done some regular maintenance, feeding, pulling supers, etc. All in complete cover head to toe. I also have an Epi pen with me at all times, even when not in the bee yard. I have had two shots so far, so just the beginning of the treatment.
    Continuing with beekeeping, sure at this time there are risks. Just like sky diving there are risks, or racing motorcycles or Nascar. It's a choice to continue on with something I love to do. That's how I look at it, I choose to live what life I have. The VIT will get me back to a more "normal" reaction if it works. Some may think I'm stubborn or stupid, or maybe both. And I'm sure there are those who understand.
    Thanks for responding. I completely understand your decision. I just got my first shot yesterday. I have been around the bees twice now in full suit with epi-pen at hand.

  9. #29
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    Black Forest, Colorado
    Posts
    354

    Default Re: Does venom immunotherapy (VIT) work? (I need real world advice)

    Hi all,

    Just joined the forum, and saw this post and thought I would answer.

    At the age of 8 (am now 48 yoa) I took a HB sting and had a systemic reaction, hives and airway constriction. I had to be treated with EPI to stop the reaction (and survive). I went through two years of VIT. I was stung again at age 14 with a small local reaction (LR). I was stung on the head again at around 17 yoa and again at around 30 yoa, with a small LR. I was stung a couple of months ago twice in a day (on the ear and the arm) with a small LR. So yes, the VIT definately helped.

    However, a week and a half ago, I was stung on the finger while working a hive and had a systemic reaction. I developed hives all over with redness and itching. There was no airway constriction. I promptly self treated with Benadryl which stopped and reversed the reaction within about 20 minutes. I called and scheduled an appointment with an allergist and will likely go through VIT again. I guess it can wear off after 40 years! I was stung twice in the past two days, each time with just a local reaction (redness and localised swelling), but no systemic reaction. I'll start wearing gloves until the shots get underway, but will definately not be giving up my bees!

    Rick
    Black Forest, Colorado

  10. #30
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    South Hamilton, MA
    Posts
    84

    Default Re: Does venom immunotherapy (VIT) work? (I need real world advice)

    I heard that people who don't have the right bacteria in their intestines are more likely to have allergies. I don't have time to look it up on pubmed.gov. You could do VIT and make your bacteria healthy. Bacteria health can be inexpensive.
    What to do:
    Eat for your bacteria. I'd have to look this up, but I know that adequate fiber is important.
    Take extra care of your microbes when taking antibiotics. Avoid antibiotic situations. Don't eat too much antibiotic meat.
    Replace damaged microflora:
    - stool transplant: most effective, could be cheep, the DIY equipment is <$10
    The cost is mostly in getting the donor's poop tested.
    - probiotics that you ingest: less effective, uncertain effectiveness

  11. #31
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    Black Forest, Colorado
    Posts
    354

    Default Re: Does venom immunotherapy (VIT) work? (I need real world advice)

    Hi all,

    See my post above as "BlackForestBees" (we changed to Agis Apiaries now that we have formed an LLC). I had my allergist do a rush protocol which got me to my maintenance dose in less than two months. The other thing I had him to was build me up to a maintenance dose twice that of a regular paitient. Normally they would give you 100 micrograms of venom, once a month. For beekeepers, there has been a recommendation of doing 200 micrograms, given that beeks are much more likely to get stung, and multiple times. An average field sting from a bee can produce between 5 and 50 micrograms of venom into your system. So, my maintenance dose is equivalent to 4 to 40 stings all in one shot.

    I took two stings last week a minute apart. The first gave me very very minor swelling (about an inch wide) with some redness around the site, with very minor itching at the site, all of which went away within 24 hours. The other sting gave me a dime size spot of redness and that was all. I'm happy with the results! Those were the first two stings of the season, so I epxected a little reaction. We'll see how it goes once I get more stings through the season.
    Agis Apiaries LLC - Three beeyards up to 7700' elevation in Ponderosa pine forest.
    Like us on Facebook

  12. #32
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Location
    Deep Brook, NS, Canada
    Posts
    355

    Default Re: Does venom immunotherapy (VIT) work? (I need real world advice)

    Michael Palmer has written that beekeepers' families who don't get stung, but are exposed to trace amounts of venom from clothing, bee suits, etc., are at great risk of developing an anaphylactic reaction. He had that experience with his own daughter, who didn't get stung, but he used to pick her up from daycare wearing his bee clothes. Maintains it's better to get your family stung once a month or so to prevent this.
    My own experience is that I was never sensitive to bee stings until last year when my mentor and I were chased from the bee yard by a particularly nasty hive. I was stung 15 or 20 times, experiencing a strong local reaction. Swelling and itching lasted several days, but no respiratory symptoms. That strong local reaction lasted for the rest of the Summer.
    I haven't been stung this year yet, but I am wearing protection, and try to limit the number of stings at any one time to see what happens.

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