Got a sting - BAD reaction - advice needed! [Archive] - Beesource Beekeeping Forums

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Buzzy
06-14-2010, 06:56 PM
:pinch:Hi,
I was stung over the weekend, and had a very scary reaction... I need some advice since my doctor was not entirely familiar.
* I have NEVER had a reaction to a sting other than minor swelling or pian - local to the sting!!

I was in the vicinity of my small hive, and something stung me on the back of my head. It sure felt like a typical bee sting at the time. About 5 minutes later I develpoped extreeeeeeme itching on my palms. I knew right away that something was wrong and headed for the house. By the time I went inside, the soles of my feet were itching terribly and I was feeling a bit flushed. I found some info on the internet that advised that I keep the sting site below my heart, but thought that standing on my head might actually exaccerbate the problems.
At this point I started to feel nausea, and developed itchy spots - hives I guess - and my heart really picked up speed, then I felt my heart beat( pounding in my feet and palms. My face swelled up, and I felt very woozy. Then, as I was about to call 911, I barfed into the laundry hamper, (Wife not too thrilled with this move) and got into bed... took a Benedyl and started to feel better. I never had constriction of my airways, though my sinusses felt like I had developed a cold. I was terrified, but it was over in about 20 minutes.
So, I still don't know if I am allergic, or if I just had a bad reaction. Does the location of the sting matter? I have been stung about 6 times over the last year, but this is the first reaction of this type. Is it a reaction or am I a new member of the "I am allergic to Bees and now have to get rid of the hive" club?
I got an epi pen ( $65, thanks for nuttin' blue cross) and need to know if I need to walk around with it at all times in case, or if I just need it nearby as a precaution. Can I expect things to get worse if I have another sting????
Should I get rid of my hobby hive???

Thanks for any insights - I am a bit freaked out, and am looking for some practical info.
Steve Hofmann
North Hills, CA

mdaniels
06-14-2010, 07:02 PM
Steve,

Carry your epi-pen with you and please go speak with your physician. That sounds like a dangerous sort of reaction--I don't think I'd take any chances. Get some advice from a doc.

AmericasBeekeeper
06-14-2010, 07:47 PM
Carry your epi-pen and antihistamines, take the antihistamines as soon as you are stung next time. If you did not remove a stinger it probably was not a bee. Bees tend to leave the stinger behind as the barbed portion pulls it from their abdomen. There are differences between venomation sites. The eyes and back of the hands are most visible on all but the least sensitive. Most people experience a lesser reaction with each sting. I posted the medical research on previous threads and the moderator deleted my post. I am certified by the State of Florida for Anaphylactic shock treatment and a Combat Lifesaver in the Marine Corps. I will provide the medical documentation in a private post if you ask.

ajs32
06-14-2010, 07:56 PM
just today took about 8 stings at least and the itchy parts as well as feeling likw i had a head cold, throat was a bit tite but not too bad, benadrayl and 30 min i was startin to feel better

Buzzy
06-14-2010, 07:58 PM
Any info that you might be able to forward would be most appreciated. It has me worried, but since I did not experience the throat swelling, I was hoping it was a bad spider bite or something else. My email is [email protected]
Thanks!!
Steve
It just seems strange that this reaction is so different from anything I have ever experienced before. Are bee stings cumulative?? Can one develop an allergy at 45? Lotsa questions....

bobber128
06-14-2010, 08:49 PM
GO SEE YOUR DOC!!! To answer your question, yes, you can develop an allergy late in life. My father was never allergic to bees (he was allergic to dang near everything else, though) until just a few years ago. Now he is. Go to an allergist, and get tested (it's very easy and only slightly irritating). If you are, they can give you a weekly shot to try to de-sensitize you. If it's something else, they can usually identify that, too. Either way, I'd carry the epi-pen with me, just in case. The next reaction may be much more severe and much quicker. Better to be safe than sorry....

Bee Bliss
06-14-2010, 09:29 PM
Buzzy,

Please see my recent post on Bee Sting Question (Apitherapy Forum). You had a racing heart which is a symptom of Anaphylactic shock and it may get progressively worse and can be life threatening. Whatever bit or stung you caused this, and it may not have been a honeybee. See your doctor. In the meantime keep the epi pen with you. Take Benedryll asap, use the epi pen and get to the ER immediately if it happens again. This is nothing to fool with.

If you are allergic to honeybee venom, you can be desensitized in about 2 weeks. Many people are allergic to wasp stings and are fine with honeybee stings. You may not have to give up your hive afterall. You need to be checked for allergy to HONEYBEE venom.

tedw200
06-14-2010, 09:29 PM
You can also try taking a beny before you go to work with your bees,
Your sting might have been from other than a bee,
Consult with your doctor at your earliest,
I had to extract from my hives on a rainy day and they were very agresive
that time and wound up with about 15 - 20 stings on my hands, the feeling
is wormth and tingling along with very little itch.
I usualy will have a pair of skinny tweesers and use them.
My last extraction was a must because they had no more room.
If you had prev. stings and no reaction or at least a little, it must have been
other than a bee.
Please consult with your doctor soon.

I also recomend that you store your bee suit and gloves reversed so that
when you have to use it you have to turn it right side out.
Sometimes you might have a spider or other nest it self in a sleve or glove
and when you put it on it has no way to escape and after a while you
wind up with a sting or a bite.
Good luck!

jmgi
06-17-2010, 08:46 PM
I agree with some others that this does not appear to be a honey bee sting reaction, since you have been stung before with no unusual symptoms. I would definitely carry your medication with you just in case, you need to find out soon if honey bees are the problem though. Just my opinion.

Stevebug
07-15-2010, 11:22 PM
First of all I am not a doctor. I have been listening to Amber Rose [http://foreveramberrose.com/ ] who does acubeetherapy, a combined acupuncture and bee sting therapy. She has treated over 10,000 people with bee stings. She states that everyone should have a reaction to bee stings, wasp stings, mosquito bites etc. The fact that you swell up shows your body did respond to the "sting". The labored breathing my be that you are boarderline Anaphylactic. I have never heard of it(Ana.) getting worse. She goes on to say that a person stung needs to have a high dose of vitamin C in them so the body with produce it's own cortizone. She says that humans are the only animal on Earth that do not produce their own vitamin C. I agree with the majority here in that it was probably not a bee that stung you. I have had bees for a total of about 8 years now but this year I would get stung every week just minding my own business as it were. I also did remove bees in a breezeway ceiling that I was sweating, covered with some honey and the bees stung through my suit and I counted about 20 stings on my back. They were red and about the size of the old 50 cent pieces. Adreneline did kick in and I felt the "rush" followed by some harder breathing due to the agreneline. It was my body's way of winding down much like a caffene rush. Oh, and of all the people Amber Rose has treated....NONE have had a Anaphylactic response. Ice chunk or ice pack on the sting area always help. Reclining also would have kept the swelling down some too. Benedryl only blocks the body's ability to make cortizone in a response. Since you can keep your bees now I would suggest an occasional purposeful sting. I have yet to plunge into the sting therapy for myself but the many benefits outway the minor discomfort. Peace

Bee Bliss
07-16-2010, 09:00 AM
Please check out the "Anxiety or Allergy?" thread on the Bee Forum of this site. I will repeat just a small portion of my post on that thread:

There is a lot of good information and experiences being related on this thread and a few others which helps people be informed and helps them be prepared to handle the situation correctly. I hope to alleviate fear of getting stung also. Sometimes the unknown is scary.

An allergic reaction to a bee sting would be at least one of the following: difficulty breathing, heart racing, hives way away from the sting site. Use the epi pen if you have one and get to the ER asap. If possible, also take Benedryll asap. Benedryll is important also.

A local reaction would not have the above allergic symptoms, but is rather swelling (even great swelling), itching, redness around sting site, warmth and/or bruising around sting site. It is possible for a local reaction of swelling to cause difficulty breathing just because it is near/in the mouth or neck/throat. Get to the ER for any breathing issues.

-------------------

An apitherapist trained us to ice the site prior to stinging. It helps to knock down that initial punch of a sting and make it very tolerable or sometimes almost painless. You will feel it a little longer, but the pain is greatly reduced. She also told us if a site is tender after the stings, to put heat on it. They heat up cloth rice bags in the microwave and apply to relieve "pain" at the site. I don't bother anymore with heat as I only needed it once or twice. After I built up to the venom, I have had 12 stings on the ankle and had no itching, no swelling..... just felt a little burn for a while. Not bad. Actually, kinda feels good!

Anyone who has been stung (un-iced) by a honeybee would say that the pain is intense but goes away quickly. I don't sting without ice first! LOL Ice makes a big difference.

Bee venom is a wonderful thing. It stimulates the immune system, increases blood flow to the sting site bringing more oxygen and other chemicals to that area promoting healing and pain relief. It also triggers the brain to send out signals to other organs of the body to do their job releasing more chemicals into the body. Bee venom contains some chemicals that are already present in our own body and are necessary. :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup:

rancidgoat
07-26-2010, 11:19 PM
Buzzy,

Let us know how this all works out for you. I've been stung who knows how many times but a new hive I've got seems more potent or something. The last few stings have swollen like none before and the one I got Sunday while string trimming (not near the hive, I just pinched her between my hand and body as I was working) matched your experience. Itchy hands and feet and soon after my lips felt like they were swelling. When my face felt hot I stopped working and soon after tried to barf (no laundry dangers for me though). Within about 20 min I was fine except the sting area.
Has me a bit concerned.

weedbee
08-02-2010, 03:01 PM
I'm the beekeepers wife and helper (the honey lady). Always had a painful swelling reaction so I was reluctant to get stung for the first 6 years. I think I was a victim of developing the wrong antibodies against the sting. Had several bad reactions over the past 2 years (itchy feet, fainting, nausea, hives, severe congestion, etc). I was tested a 4 on a 1-6 for honeybee allergy. Low for the other stinging insects. For 9 months now I have been "stung" at the allergist office once a week ($25/visit plus venom costs). I have an asthmatic reaction most of the time in the office about 15 min. later. They tell me it can take 3 years to desensitize! Would like to try accupunture with it but haven't researched this in my area yet. Has anyone been desensitized with bee venom? I'll keep it up and carry my epi pen, liquid benedryl when I'm around the bees. Will let you know if it works in 3 years!

Fuzzy
08-03-2010, 02:56 PM
I am currently on "maintanence" therapy. I get a shot every 2 weeks now at 100% strength. My allergist insists that I take either a Claritin or a Zyrtec, along with a Singulair tablet 1-2 hrs before getting the shots.

I don't know about your medical coverage. I am on Kaiser and it costs $3 per visit for the allergy shots. Yes that is $3 for the shot total. Visits to the doctor are $25.
But then there is the monthly insurance cost and that can vary whether you are in a group plan or individual. You would have to check their website.

Riverratbees
04-07-2011, 10:07 PM
Buy a eppy pin

alpha6
04-07-2011, 10:20 PM
Yeah...what everyone said and best to find out what it was that caused the reaction instead of just guessing. One thing is certain is that, based on your elevated heart rate and the nausia is that you had a fairly good reaction to something. The epi pen is a good idea, but the real question is how far are you from medical care? If you are a good distance, I would recommend that you carry more than one or take a course on how to get more than the initial dose from your epi pen. (You can actually get about three doses from a pen, but for the second and third you have to disassemble the pen and manually inject.)

frazzledfozzle
04-08-2011, 06:06 AM
My daughter is highly allergic to bee stings, an allergy can develop at anytime even if you have been stung 1000 times over 20 years it can still happen.
We carry fast acting antihistamines in our truck at all times and have them in our house also.
This isn't just for our daughter it's for any of us or our friends that might have a reaction.
We were told by the doctor at the hospital that after she gets a sting she is to take the anti hystamines first and monitor her closely for 20 mins if she starts to show signs of full body reaction and her breathing becomes wheezy we are to use the epi pen which has adrenalin in it.

As others have said it's normal to have localised swelling itching and redness around the sting site it's not normal to have swelling itchiness hives in areas not directly affected by the sting,
If your breathing starts to get wheezy and you feel faint you are in dangerous territory, your blood pressure has dropped and the airsacs in your lungs are constricting as they do when you get asthma.

The Epipen is supposed to be kept cool so it's not the easiest thing to carry with you especially in the summer.

My sister is also allergic to bee stings and has gone through the desensitising unfortunately she got worse after each treatment not better, so she still goes into anaphyalatic shock if she gets stung.
My brother was allergic to bees stings up until he was a teenager he also would go into anaphylatic shock but he came right with the desensitising and is now a beekeeper.

They say it's a good idea to wash your beegear seperately from any family washing even give your machine a rinse out after using it for a beegear wash.

You need to go back to your doctor and get it sorted dont muck around with it.

frazz

c2weech
05-10-2011, 12:15 PM
I was stung yesterday and had a full body reaction. Itchy groin, feet, pale face, and rapid heart rate. Nasal breathing was constricted though breathing through my throat was not affected.

It freaked out my family and girlfriend and me for that matter. I would hate to give up beekeeping. The first time I got stung no reaction my first year they seemed to get progressively worse all localized though. Then last winter I was at a beekeepers conference and had an apitherapist give me a test sting and I had a slight systemic reaction. Last year I suited up pretty good but still got to stings and had little to no reaction.

THe one yesterday was pretty severe and had me scared.

Any suggestions? I would love to see an allergist but I do not have health insurance and think it could be cost prohibitive.

Thanks in andvance to responses.

Fuzzy
05-10-2011, 12:46 PM
c2weech,

The next one could kill you if you are unprepared. You need to have liquid benedryl with you while tending bees. Do not wait for a reaction. Stop what you are doing and take the benedryl if you get stung. OR you can take a zyrtec at least an hour before you begin to tend the bees. You also need to have an epi-pen available just in case the above doesn't work. It may get you to the emergency room in time.

Allergic beekeeper -- Fuzzy

bobber128
05-10-2011, 02:42 PM
SEE AN ALLERGIST!!!! It's less cost-prohibitive than major medical expenses or a funeral. Get an Epi pen and stay suited up.

Riverratbees
05-10-2011, 08:19 PM
If you are getting worse everytime you get a sting your heading down a road with a bad end. Me personally I carry a eppy pen unless I am at home.Get out while your ahead.

cobutterfly
06-17-2011, 08:13 PM
Help - I need advice also. I was working with my hives about 2 months ago and was stung by bees 3 times on my thumb. I removed the stingers, but the area swelled quite a bit. Fro the joint to the tip became numb. I figured it would go away once the swelling went down. It has been 2 months since the incident and the tip of the thumb is still numb. I believe there may be nerve end damage but am quite surprised at this - has anyone else experienced this and does anyone know what can be done to bring back the feeling in my thumb?

Thanks

summer1052
06-17-2011, 08:32 PM
bobber128=-

if you show up in the ER with the beginnings of anaphylactic shock, they are required to treat you.

I notice I react differently to stings depending on what the major pollen source seems to be at the moment. But the doc says I'm crazy. I may be, but I might also be correct! ;)

Be careful!
Summer

tedw200
06-17-2011, 11:42 PM
Help - I need advice also. I was working with my hives about 2 months ago and was stung by bees 3 times on my thumb. I removed the stingers, but the area swelled quite a bit. Fro the joint to the tip became numb. I figured it would go away once the swelling went down. It has been 2 months since the incident and the tip of the thumb is still numb. I believe there may be nerve end damage but am quite surprised at this - has anyone else experienced this and does anyone know what can be done to bring back the feeling in my thumb?

Thanks

You may still have a part of the stinger lodged in the thumb, the thumb does not have as many nerve ends as the rest of your fingers. Soak your thumb in soapy water "natural old fashioned soap, it's color is almost the same as burlap sack " and see if you have a tiny black or brown dot in the area of the sting. If so than you need to lightly break the first 2 layers of skin can be gently sanded down with a finger nail file, just enough to remove the first and or the second layer of hard skin on the thumb and than gently squeeze until the black or brown spot pops out.But you must soak the thumb for a long time. (aprox. 30 min.)
Than within 3 days your feelings should be normal.
Good luck !
Let me know if helped.

cobutterfly
06-18-2011, 08:30 AM
Thanks - I'll try this and see what happens. I'm up for trying anything!

cobutterfly
06-22-2011, 10:31 PM
Tedw200 - I soaked the thumb as you said and sure enough found another stinger - one I didn't even know I had gotten. It has been out now for 2 days and thumb seems to be getting some feeling back. I think it may have worked! I'm heading out for vacation for a couple of weeks so will not have internet service but wanted to let you know I think your theory was right.

AltamontBee
09-10-2011, 07:51 PM
I'm going to second what bobber128 had to say. See an Allergist!!!!! I had been a beekeeper for a few years with no reaction to bees stings. Until one day when I got stung and ended up with slightly swollen tongue, throat, and lips. Allergist determined I had developed an allergy to honeybees, and told me that there was a good chance my next reaction would be even worse. I've been going through a series of "desensitizing" allergy shots, and it works! I got stung the other day with no ill effect. It's well worth it to be able to have my bees without worrying about it.

beeherder
02-19-2012, 05:46 AM
I have 5 hives, had 4 then got a fifth nuc. when I had just the 4 hives I'd get stung and no reaction, but after getting the fifth nuc I've had 'reactions' twice, from the new hive, so I think the bees particular genetics may make a difference in the potency of the venom.
My system may have been preloaded with venom already though since I'd been stung the week before...
All the symptoms you described but also with a short cough, like I was out of breath but not.

Michael Bush
02-19-2012, 08:04 PM
This is what I would do, I am not a doctor and this is not medical advice. I would find an allergist who really understands bee sting allergies (some do not). They will give you a treatment regimen to desensitize you to bee stings. I would do this regardless of what else you do. The world is full of bees (fortunately for all of us) The advice of a GP will most likely be simply for you to give up beekeeping, which will not deal with your allergy at all. Once you've been desensitized I would be sure to get stung regularly to keep that going.

It is possible your next reaction will be less. It is possible your next reaction will be worse. You should be prepared for both possibilities.

Eddie Honey
03-24-2012, 07:56 PM
I got stung today on the side of my head. I've ben stung before with no more of a reaction than a mosquito bite. Today was hives on my upper body especially my hands, neck, back, and armpits. My hands and feet itched as well. My wife gave me 20mg of her pred and a zertec but when she saw the hives under my arms she calmly said , "lets go get some real medicine", and took me to the ER. This is my second year beekeeping and there isn't any way I'm giving this hobby up. If I die from working with bees I'll die happy....I think...seriously though, I'm going to ask my doc about desensitizing therapy. I have no insurance but I heard it's cheaper than a funeral.

Daniel Y
03-25-2012, 08:51 AM
Honestly and seriously you should have gone to the ER. I got stung on my upper lip and the venom reached my sinus. I had a reaction with just about everything you mention but far faster and far more sever. I was almost blacking out at times. That was year ago. As it turns out it was caused by the sting location and the venom reaching my sinuses. In your case it could have been some gland the venom reached. Not necessarily and indication you have in fact developed an allergy. If it does happen again, please take yourself to the ER. the situation can get worse very quickly and there is some magic they can perform that lets you walk out of the hospital a couple hours alter without so much as swelling at the sight of the sting.

zookeeper
03-25-2012, 11:17 AM
It is possible your next reaction will be less. It is possible your next reaction will be worse. You should be prepared for both possibilities.When I first started keeping bees, I got stung several times with no reaction. I thought I was in the clear. Then one day I got stung and had the flushing, pounding heart, and hives. Took an antihistimine right away and went to the doc, who prescribed an epi-pen. Now I carry it and liquid benadryl along any time I go near the hives. Funny thing is... I haven't had a sting reaction since. At the time I had the reaction, my hay fever was at a fever pitch, and my doc thinks the bee sting just sent my immune system over the edge.

I still don't take a chance though. I carry my sting kit everywhere I go.

Eddie Honey
03-25-2012, 08:57 PM
When I first started keeping bees, I got stung several times with no reaction. I thought I was in the clear. Then one day I got stung and had the flushing, pounding heart, and hives. Took an antihistimine right away and went to the doc, who prescribed an epi-pen. Now I carry it and liquid benadryl along any time I go near the hives. Funny thing is... I haven't had a sting reaction since. At the time I had the reaction, my hay fever was at a fever pitch, and my doc thinks the bee sting just sent my immune system over the edge.

I still don't take a chance though. I carry my sting kit everywhere I go.

Interesting about the hay fever ZooKeep. Mine has been outta control these last couple of weeks and that's also when I had the bad reaction.

mrobinson
04-20-2012, 10:52 AM
Interesting about the hay fever ZooKeep. Mine has been outta control these last couple of weeks and that's also when I had the bad reaction.
I. N. A. D. ... but I do know that the effects of hay-fever are caused by histamine. So is the reaction to a sting. It does seem to pile up. You're more allergic to things, so to speak, when you're having an allergic reaction to something else. Nevertheless... shock can kill very quickly. Don't mess around with it.

Risky Beesness
04-20-2012, 09:52 PM
I have had allergies all of my life, even back in the days when there was no allergy medicine available, unless you considered ALLEREST allergy medicine. I never got any reprieve from yard duty. i would mow the lawn and after i finished my eyes and throat would be swollen and I would be sneezing and coughing for hours. Just part of growing up. So far, i have never had any reaction to any kind of insect sting, including honeybees. However, on a related subject to the previous posters, I have long suspected that during peak allergy seasons, certain types of food would set me off, like watermelon, cantelope, bananas, and a few others. Other times of the year, those same foods would have no effect on my allergies. Coulkd this also apply to bee stings?

zookeeper
04-21-2012, 09:01 AM
I have long suspected that during peak allergy seasons, certain types of food would set me off, like watermelon, cantelope, bananas, and a few others. Other times of the year, those same foods would have no effect on my allergies.

That's interesting, Risky, because I've never heard about allergies "piling up" so to say, until my doc brought it up. Maybe there's something to it after all. But.....doctors are human, and humans can be wrong! Because of his advice, I decided that I would not stop keeping bees, which is a good thing, :D but since then I've been extra cautious. I always wear a full bee suit and gloves, even in the HOTTEST weather. When I do get stung, it's followed by 10 minutes of anxiety where I wait to see if there's any flushing, etc. I would LOVE to work bees in a jacket and veil, but it's just not worth the possible risk.

Tom Brueggen
05-14-2012, 05:04 PM
I'm curious about the location of the sting as well, and assuming that we are all different of course. I've been stung 5 times since I got my bees. Never thought myself to be allergic as I have been stung by all sorts of stinging critters growing up, from honeybees to yellow jackets. None every required any medical attention. Of my 5 stings as of late, 2 on the face, three on the hands/wrists. I'd think the face to be more sensitive and dangerous than the hands, but I appear to be opposite. Just to clarify, the first time I was not wearing a veil. I learned my lesson quickly as a bee attempted to crawl up my nose and stung my upper lip. No swelling, no itching. Just watery eyes and nose for a few minutes. Now I wear my veil, but it is a POS, and Sunday a bee managed to actually sting me on the nose, through my veil. Again, no swelling/itching, minor pain only when I messed with it. Also on Sunday I got stung on my wrist. Swelled to about half the underside of my forearm, although swelling can also be seen from above. Red and itchy. Sore until noon, but no constriction of movement. A week ago I took a sting to my knuckle and for 24 hours after my finger was so swollen I couldn't make a fist (without pain) and I had pain up into my hand.

So far pretty much all the symptoms are gone within 48 hours, so I don't think I am dangerously allergic. But a better suit, and an epi-pen are in store before any major hive work is done. But back to the point, has anyone else experience heightened reactions in unexpected areas?

Tom Brueggen
05-15-2012, 06:48 AM
Just as predicted, this morning essentially all the swelling in my wrist is gone, and only a very mild itch (only if I scratch at it) and a slight tenderness if a squeeze on my arm. So I guess being conservative I would say I have about a 48 hour full recovery from the time of the sting. Despite how nasty it gets in that 48 hours, I think 48 hours is pretty quick for a general sting recovery. Is it not? I'm still trying to gauge just how allergic I may be.

frazzledfozzle
05-15-2012, 08:04 AM
Tom it's quite normal to get pain and swelling with a beesting sometimes it will be more painful and swell more than other times.

if you get pain and swelling at the site of the sting thats not an allergic reaction, thats a normal reaction to venom being introduced to your body just as you get swelling and an itch to a mosquito bite at the site of the bite.

An allergic reaction is different it goes beyond the site of the sting/bite to a full or partial body reaction so if you got stung on the hand It's perfectly normal for your hand and fingers your wrist and the lower part of your arm to swell, get hot, sore and itchy it's not OK if you get hives on any other parts of your body like legs stomach face back probably even upper arm would be cause for some concern.

Any heart palpitations, nausea, dizzyness and especially breathing problems and loss of consciousness are a very serious symptom not to be ignored and if you get any of these you shouldn't muck around but get straight to a doctor/hospital.

From the allergic reactions to bee stings that I've witnessed it all tends to happen fairly soon after the sting,

so in short if the symptoms you get from a bee sting are localised to the site of the sting and include any or all of these pain, swelling, hotness, and itchiness then you are having a normal reaction.

If the symptoms involve the immediate sting site and other parts of your body thats when you are having an allergic reation and should seek help

robherc
05-16-2012, 12:56 PM
If the symptoms involve the immediate sting site and other parts of your body thats when you are having an allergic reation and should seek help
Actually, that's when you're having a systemic reaction and, depending on the length of time involved, it may or may NOT qualify as an allergic reaction.

An ALLERGIC reaction is defined as an acquired quick response of the immune system, in a hypersensitive model (I.E. an overreaction to a substance that's normally less harmful than the reaction) to a normally harmless, or less harmful, substance. As such, anyone who immediately swells more than slightly, is indeed allergic.

A HYPERSENSITIVE reaction to bee stings is generally considered to be any reaction more than moderate swelling/itching/burning in the immediate area of the sting. So someone whose whole arm, a large portion of their leg, their entire foot+ankle, etc swells, or who takes abnormally long to recover, is hypersensitive to bee venom and, depending on the speed of the reaction, may or may not be allergic.

An ANAPHYLACTIC reaction is a systemic allergic reaction to a substance (in this case bee venom), generally consisting of hives (often the defining characteristic of anaphylaxis) on multiple areas of the body, swelling in areas OTHER than the immediate vicinity of the sting, and often swelling of the mouth/nose/throat to the point of impairing (or even eliminating) breathing. Anyone experiencing an anaphylactic reaction will need to be administered epinephrine (epi-pen) and antihistamines, and is definitely best off taking the trip to a hospital for definitive care. Unfortunately, the difference between your body having a milder allergic reaction, or going into anaphylaxis, is purely one of degree, and the "line" can be crossed by your body with little or no warning, so if you are allergic, or have ever had an allergic reaction, to bee venom, then it is HIGHLY recommended that you talk to your doctor about making preparations (I.E. carrying a bee sting kit, normally consisting of 1 or more epi-pens, for immediate relief of life-threatening reactions, along with tweezers, for removing stingers, and antihistamines, for longer term reaction control), whether you intend to keep bees, or not.

Reference material: [URL="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allergy"]Wikipedia "Allergy" Article[/URL}

frazzledfozzle
05-16-2012, 08:26 PM
I guess it depends on where you get your info from

this is from Medicinenet.com and is also what I understand to be the difference between allergic or not


What types of insect sting reactions occur?

Nonallergic reactions

Most insect-sting reactions are not allergic and result in local pain, itching, swelling, and redness at the site of the sting. Some extension of the swelling is expected. Local treatment is usually all that is needed for this type of reaction. Disinfect the area, keep it clean, and apply ice. Topical corticosteroid creams are sometimes used to decrease inflammation, and antihistamines can help control itching.

Large local reactions may involve increased swelling (that lasts for 48 hours up to one week) that may be accompanied by nausea and vomiting. Large local reactions occur in about 10% of insect stings and are not allergic in origin. Occasionally, the site of an insect sting will become infected, and antibiotics are needed.

Allergic reactions

Systemic (body-wide) reactions are allergic responses and occur in people who have developed antibodies against the insect venom from a prior exposure. It is estimated that between 0.3%-3% of stings trigger a systemic allergic reaction.

The allergic reaction to an insect sting varies from person to person. Symptoms of an allergic reaction can include itching, hives, flushing of the skin, tingling or itching inside the mouth, and nausea or vomiting. The most serious allergic reaction is called anaphylaxis, which can be fatal. Difficulty breathing, swallowing, hoarseness, swelling of the tongue, dizziness, and fainting are signs of a severe allergic reaction. These types of reactions usually occur within minutes of the sting but have been known to be delayed for up to 24 hours. Prompt treatment is essential, and emergency help is often needed.

frazzledfozzle
05-16-2012, 08:29 PM
along with tweezers, for removing stingers,

Reference material: [URL="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allergy"]Wikipedia "Allergy" Article[/URL}

I would also never use tweezers to remove a sting as there's more chance of squeezing the venom out of the sting sac into the person being stung

robherc
05-16-2012, 10:14 PM
Not to be argumentative, but I've been in the medical field for several years and, unfortunately, doctors are usually the VERY worst reference when it comes to allergies... I would know, I worked with several of them. That likely explains the misinformation on "medicine.net" That said, allergists and immunologists generally will tell you accurately, as that's their specialty...in most/all other fields of medicine, allergies are nearly always misdefined & confused with systemic/anaphylactic reactions, because those are the only "allergic" type reactions that other medical personnel are likely to need to treat. If it's not life-threatening, an ER doc doesn't need to worry about it.

Anywise, on the stingers/tweezers thing, most sting kits have special tweezers that pinch at the base of the stinger (kinda like incisor teeth) to avoid pinching the venom glands. As far as using "regular" tweezers/forceps, there's a lot of argument (mostly NOT from the scientific community) that this method introduces more venom into the wound, but most information I've seen from the scientific side seems to say that the venom gland secretes more venom if it's left on, than if it's crushed during removal. That said, I'm gonna guess that the sting tweezers, if used just as quickly, would probably give you a little less venom than ordinary, mashing tweezers, or just mashing it out with your fingers.

Also, if you want accurate information about allergic reactions, look up just about anything BUT stings+allergy, as that's where you'll run into so much inaccurate information that the accurate part's nearly impossible to sort out; unfortunately, there are FAR more "wives tales" when it comes to things that hurt & many people are afraid of (like stings), than the less "exotic" allergies (foods, plants, dogs, etc.) which most people are less concerned with, and thus less likely to make up/spread fables about.

robherc
05-16-2012, 10:28 PM
For a much better reference (one of the scientific papers that another, related wikipedia article sites), you could check: Hypersensitivity Reactions (technical article) (http://pathmicro.med.sc.edu/ghaffar/hyper00.htm)

Type I Hypersensitivity

Type I hypersensitivity is also known as immediate or anaphylactic hypersensitivity. The reaction may involve skin (urticaria and eczema), eyes (conjunctivitis), nasopharynx (rhinorrhea, rhinitis), bronchopulmonary tissues (asthma) and gastrointestinal tract (gastroenteritis). The reaction may cause a range of symptoms from minor inconvenience to death. The reaction usually takes 15 - 30 minutes from the time of exposure to the antigen, although sometimes it may have a delayed onset (10 - 12 hours).

Immediate hypersensitivity is mediated by IgE. The primary cellular component in this hypersensitivity is the mast cell or basophil. The reaction is amplified and/or modified by platelets, neutrophils and eosinophils. A biopsy of the reaction site demonstrates mainly mast cells and eosinophils.
According to the above, the actual new defining boundary of an allergic reaction (type 1 hypersensitivity) is the primary involvement of ImmunoGlobulin E (IgE in the article) as the causal factor of the immune response. It's a bit hard for the lay-person to understand, but it's a much more professional, accurate source than pointing to "consumer" oriented websites, such as Wikipedia, or Medicinenet, which are both more generally oriented towards being readable, as opposed to technically accurate.

This Article (http://www.els.net/WileyCDA/ElsArticle/refId-a0000964.html) agrees completely with the above one as well, but is worded in simpler, more concise terms.

Lburou
05-16-2012, 10:29 PM
:pinch:Hi,
I was stung over the weekend, and had a very scary reaction... I need some advice since my doctor was not entirely familiar.
* I have NEVER had a reaction to a sting other than minor swelling or pian - local to the sting!!

I was in the vicinity of my small hive, and something stung me on the back of my head. It sure felt like a typical bee sting at the time. About 5 minutes later I develpoped extreeeeeeme itching on my palms. I knew right away that something was wrong and headed for the house. By the time I went inside, the soles of my feet were itching terribly and I was feeling a bit flushed. I found some info on the internet that advised that I keep the sting site below my heart, but thought that standing on my head might actually exaccerbate the problems.
At this point I started to feel nausea, and developed itchy spots - hives I guess - and my heart really picked up speed, then I felt my heart beat( pounding in my feet and palms. My face swelled up, and I felt very woozy. Then, as I was about to call 911, I barfed into the laundry hamper, (Wife not too thrilled with this move) and got into bed... took a Benedyl and started to feel better. I never had constriction of my airways, though my sinusses felt like I had developed a cold. I was terrified, but it was over in about 20 minutes.
So, I still don't know if I am allergic, or if I just had a bad reaction. Does the location of the sting matter? I have been stung about 6 times over the last year, but this is the first reaction of this type. Is it a reaction or am I a new member of the "I am allergic to Bees and now have to get rid of the hive" club?
I got an epi pen ( $65, thanks for nuttin' blue cross) and need to know if I need to walk around with it at all times in case, or if I just need it nearby as a precaution. Can I expect things to get worse if I have another sting????
Should I get rid of my hobby hive???

Thanks for any insights - I am a bit freaked out, and am looking for some practical info.
Steve Hofmann
North Hills, CA

I wonder what the allergist said about this sting?....Its been two years, it must be resolved by now. ;)

tech.35058
07-29-2013, 09:31 PM
[QUOTE=Buzzy;550054]:pinch:Hi,

* I have NEVER had a reaction to a sting other than minor swelling or pian - local to the sting!!

Has anyone been stung by a honey bee while taking antibiotics?
was your reaction "enhanced"?
This is my story.
I have a kidney stone, but when they went to crush the stone, they discovered I had a kidney infection. As a result I get a round of antibiotics before we try again. I get to keep the "stint" they had installed, I assume to drain my kidney.

So I have been taking a 7 day treatment of antibiotics. on day six, I get stung by a honey bee, on my right index finger.
I have been in possession of bees about 3 months. I have been stung about six time during that period.
I had previously been taking vitamin C, but had discontinued for other reasons a couple of weeks prior to my starting the antibiotic.

My previous stings had been pretty mild, through gloves, or through the bee suit, with no stinger left behind.
This time I was bare handed, the stinger was left. I grasped it with my other hand, I am sure I injected all of the venom into my finger before it actually came out. (3:30pm) this actually left a deep red "(bleeding under the skin)" looking area, kind of a 1/8 inch by 3/8 inch gerrymander sort of spot.
After about ten or fifteen minutes my palms, the soles of my feet, & groin began to itch.( 3:45pm)
I took a quick shower , hoping that cooling off & dry clothes would help, but this did not relieve the itching. I have some stomach gas, which I belch.
I applied a "(stingkill)" wipe to the sting site, but that had no effect. I took one 25mg Benedryl ( all my wife could find in the house), which also seemed to have no affect. I added 500mg of vitamin C. also no noticeable change. (4:00pm)
At some point, I got a sensation in my chest, a mild "(heartburn?)" pulse 74, bp is normal. ( my wife has a blood pressure machine)
After about an hour & twenty minutes or so, the intense itching just suddenly quit. Almost immediately, the muscles in my upper arms begin to ache, both shoulders & elbows joints are sore. I also felt chilly.
7:00pm, achy-ness largely subsided. My right index finger is swollen, back to the base of the thumb, and the next knuckle on my fist. there is a distinct red line around the swollen area, with streaks back toward my wrist.
at 8:30, I take my next scheduled antibiotic pill, with an anti-puke pill. at 10:30 I take a FLOMAX and go to bed.
Next morning, ( I am still alive!) the swollen area is more swollen & itches.
Lunch time , swelling goes down some, still itches

29 hours after the sting, still some what swollen, still itching. the actual sting point has 3 or four tiny blister looking structures. I am inclined to lance them & drain them, my wife votes not. We pour hydrogen peroxide over the blisters, & pop them. Clear liquid comes out, peroxide bubbles nicely.
Obviously, this sting has got my attention. I would even say that I am a bit frightened, or "spooked".
As soon as I get my kidney problem handled, so that the kidney meds won't skew the process, I will see an allergist.
Until then, I will not work bees without wearing the full suit, with sting-proof gloves.
Any body else been stung while taking antibiotics?
tech.35058

Tom Brueggen
07-29-2013, 09:55 PM
Holy cow! Please let us know the outcome of the allergist tests.

It's interesting, you say you'd never taken a true sting before (stinger left behind) and then when you finally did here, you pinched the stinger which is a horrible rookie mistake.

It sounds to be that you picked up some sort of localized staff infection, perhaps the bee has some sort of germs on its stinger. I know this sounds silly, but I had a doctor advise me to always treat a bee sting with hydrocortisone just in case. I usually don't, but when my 9 month old daughter got stung on her EYELID I did, and she handled it great!

I'm no doctor, but I get the feeling that perhaps your immune system is out of whack due to the antibiotics. Is it possible they are geared towards your kidney, and so perhaps they somehow inhibited your body from fighting the infection or impact of the bee sting.

One last thing, I have observed if I "baby" a bee sting, my reaction is worse. So if I get stung, yank the stinger, and go aboit my business, I tend to have little to no reaction (except the swear words, but I consider that routine). However, if I prod at and squeeze it, it swells twice as bad. But even when I took dozens of stings moving a hive at night once (no other choice), I never had a reaction even close to yours.

God bless and I think I speak for everyone in hoping you recover and get an answer. I'd sure like one for my own reference.

frazzledfozzle
07-29-2013, 11:22 PM
I would call that a very serious reaction and would definately be heading to the doctor for advice

tech.35058
06-26-2014, 10:23 PM
Honey bee sting allergy testing
finally got around to this about December 20th, new health insurance year( with a new co-pay!) starts next month.

Dr. said :
Some "symptoms " possibly unrelated, but enough border line stuff to warrant testing. Symptoms possibly affected by weakness misery & meds related to kidney stone.

Stomach gas is not nausea

My ( then) current Blue Cross Insurance covers 100% so it is just standard copay $40.
They will bill blue cross $2188 for todays visit, which will cover a host of stinging insects, honey bees, yellow jackets, wasps, white face hornets & yellow hornets.
BC covers up to 65 "skin pricks" every 3 years. Today we will do 29 skin pricks.
They said that if we decided to do more later, they would be covered up to that limit, but beyond that would be out of pocket.

Back to stings, intake tech (weighs you, takes blood pressure) said that just because i want to be tested doesn't mean you get tested.
I said great, I just want to know my next sting wont be my last.

So the doctor says they will start with very diluted venom from these different insects in the scratch tests. Anything that shows a "positive " reaction is flagged as such & discontinued , tests with the other venoms continue.
They label several spots on the inside of my wrists, apply a drop of diluted venom, then scratch it with a plastic looking pin.
They also do " controls " where they inject a little of the water they dilute the venom with under the skin,and in another spot "histamine " is injected.
The water is a slight swelling, the histamine swells up like a sting. Feels like a sting, kind of.
Tech tells me not to touch anything, she will be back in 20 minutes
After the scratch test, they come back & measure the red spot at each site.
I am "good " so far.
Next a small amount is) injected under the skin. They will be back in 20 minutes.
Again the wheal is less than 4mm, scores "0".
More tiny injections, a little stronger solution. They will return in 20 minutes.
Again no reaction.
5 more sticks... back in 20 minutes. Only one more round after this.
They come back. A couple of the pricks are itching & have a 5mm wheal. They want to know if i have been "messing" with it. They go to get the doctor to come look.
Doctor decides I am positive allergic to honey bee venom.
Continue the next group of sticks minus the honey bee venom.
Looks like i am also reacting (allergic) to yellow jacket venom.
Since it was late in the day, the "fee counsellor" did not have time to see me, but I called back in a few days later.
the proposal was that I should begin desensitisation shots, the first one would require a "doctor visit to be sure I did not ( die on them), & would cost about $100. After that, I would initially go weekly for shots, at $40 plus the cost of venom each time, eventually cutting back to monthly, & hopefully being desensitized after 5 years.
This was right about the end of the health insurance term, & my company had made drastic changes to our health care plan, we decided to wait & see what the new plan would or would not pay.

some how, I never called them back, did not take any shots. careful to wear full bee suit _almost_ every time, etc.

Last week, June 18, out in the beeyard, full suit, but just glove liners, checking some stuff, & a bee stung me between the thumb & fore finger. I went back into the house, told my wife what had happened, got my epi-pen ready, & waited for problems. I took a couple of benidrill tablets. my hand swelled up on the thumb side for 3 days, & itched, but that was about it.
back in the bee yard Wednesday, the 25th ( yesterday). Almost properly attired, I was changing a bottom board late in the day. bees found they could sting through my thick woollen socks. two stings on one ankle, another sting on the other ankle .
this time I did not take any thing, pretty much ignored it.

After 3 hours, the sting sites had swollen out about 1/2 inch, three inches across.still some what swollen , & itchy the next day. Does _not_ seem to have helped the soreness in my hips & thighs that has developed over the last 3 months.

Just because I took a careless attitude & survived so far, do not think every one will have these results.
My wife related that one of her aquaintences died as a result of bee sting allergy. had the epi-pen, walking in an orchard, got stung. Did every thing right, but died. left two sons, the oldest in his early teens at the time.
I learned that on of my acquaintances has also learned he is sensitive to bee / wasp stings.
he is a residential installer tech, and apparently he was at a customers house, got stung & collapsed. the next door neighbor noticed, & called 911. he now carries an epi-pen all the time.
y'all be careful now

sqkcrk
06-27-2014, 04:10 AM
:pinch:Hi,
I was stung over the weekend, and had a very scary reaction... I need some advice since my doctor was not entirely familiar.


I prescribe a new or at least another Doctor. An allergist perhaps. Consider that you are going to nonDoctors for advice.

Daniel Y
06-27-2014, 07:10 AM
I woudl consider the tendency to go to non medical professionals about seeing medical advice a situation created by the medical profession. Doctors want to be paid for their advice. and they are not cheap. random folks in society do not. Seeking advice about getting medical care from non medical people is actually the norm not an exception.

Plus I generality do not find a doctor is the nest person to get medical advice from. Treatment yes but doctors tend to get caught up in diagnosing the same hand full of melodies to the point very few look at or consider the particulars. You hear about it all the time. patients being treated and medicated for one condition when ti turns out being a completely different problem. the doctor frankly did not care. He has all of 10 minutes to get his $250 out of you and needs to move on to the next quarter grand. And the truth is most never care if they figure out what is wrong with you.

True story of many I could tell. Nealy three years and over 6 different doctors. Largely due to my non professional advice. and a co worker finally got correctly diagnosed by an intern in the hall overhearing a discussion between two doctors. That intern went to the library and pored over medical books until they figured it out. No MD would ever had devoted that much time. My co worker would have died if they had remained in the care of Doctors. In my experience you are in better shape being under the care of a practitioner or even a nurse than you are that of a doctor.

Good doctors are hard to find. Doctors that will treat you are even rarer.

Michael Bush
06-27-2014, 08:43 AM
I tend not to give advice on such things as what I would do is probably not what other people would do and when I do things I'm the one taking the chance. But in my experience doctors are pretty much worthless on the matter unless they are an expert on the subject. If you go to a GP with a sting that swelled badly, they will assume it's an infection and prescribe an antibiotic... the same with allergies. If you have someone who is an expert on bee venom allergies I would listen. If they are not, I would tend not to listen...

In my experience one bad reaction does not necessarily mean you will have another, in fact it may go the opposite direction... but how do you know? Hard to know. Some people have said they would park outside the emergency room and sting themselves. That makes some sense to me, if you have someone with you who can summon help in case you can't...

chickenia
06-27-2014, 10:12 AM
We just had an MD speak at our last BK's association, and he recommended keeping LIQUID Benedryl with you in the beeyard. 50mg. is equal to an epipen, and get to the hospital if you have the symptoms you describe. He is the second doctor I have had advise in this way. Oftentimes I have heard of folks developing an allergy to bee after working as a BK for years, you take care! :)

mitchgobears
06-27-2014, 04:09 PM
As a practicing physician, not an allergist, allergies come from repeated exposure and an exaggerated immune response. People usually are not programmed to have severe reactions from the first exposure. Life is full of risk, and we all decide which risks we are willing to take. Having oral Benadryl and an epi pen are smart precautions to have on hand but may not be able to remedy the situation. If it is a risk you are willing to take then continue on. If the risk is too much, stop. If you have a doctor that is not giving you adequate or correct information: find a different doctor!