So now I am allergic to Honeybees.....
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  1. #1
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    Default So now I am allergic to Honeybees.....

    This month I got some very bad news. I have been keeping bees for 7 years with no problems with being stung until last year when I had a bad reaction to being stung many times one day. Fast forward to this year and I have been having systemic reactions more often after being stung (nausea, iching red feet, lightheadedness etc.)

    I went to the allergist and after a blood test I am positive for honey bee venom Allergy (no other bees ) We discussed the issue and it was brought up that perhaps my being stung so many times over the years has created the sensitivity and ultimately the allergy.

    The treatment is weekly desensitization shots for several years. I asked the Doc the max dose and he said the maintenance treatment is two bees worth of venom. The day before hearing this news I was stung 6 times and other than feeling ill as noted above and taking two benydryl right away I had no other ill effects.

    I really do not understand how if being stung so many times made me sensitive to the venom that now being shot in the arm with the venom is going to desensitize me. Unless I was allergic the whole time and just never had effects or knew it?

    Also, can't I just sting myself once a week two times and save a lot of time and aggravation? (I should tell you I have a horrible needle phobia--I passed out cold when I was in the allergists office just at the sight of the needles!!! Thosands of bees on the other hand no problem....)

    Any allergics out here care to chime in I really need some direction on this!!
    Pachysandra King of the Ground-covers!

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: So now I am allergic to Honeybees.....

    See another Dr. for a second professional opinion.

  4. #3
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    Default Re: So now I am allergic to Honeybees.....



    So sorry to hear about your allergy...
    BeeCurious
    Trying to think inside the box...

  5. #4
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    Default Re: So now I am allergic to Honeybees.....

    homeopathic doctor would be who you want to ask or see I believe that controlled stings would work. im sure if you asked your doctor that you have now he would say it wouldn't work or its to dangerous. seeing how most are greedy and just want your money let us know if you treat yourself and how it goes

  6. #5
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    Default Re: So now I am allergic to Honeybees.....

    From what I've read, the problem is not everyone will react the same. If you're going to do it yourself make sure you have an epi pen & someone is with you. Please use caution.
    Dan

  7. #6
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    Default Re: So now I am allergic to Honeybees.....

    Quote Originally Posted by xcugat View Post
    ...r a blood test I am positive for honey bee venom Allergy...
    I am so sorry to hear that you have an allergy. I am not a doctor but I have a background in immunology. Before any decisions, you need to seek professional advise.

    Many poisons/venom work the same way: small dose heal; the large dose would kill. I guess, at some point, once, it was too much to your body - it developed the protection mechanism. Unfortunately, the good intention (protection from bee-sting) turned into overreaction, which affected the whole body. Such overreaction is called allergy. Forgive me this primitive explanations

    Once allergy has developed, every time you exposed to "allergen", it stimulates allergy making it worse. Practically any immune reaction (allergy etc) is directed against foreign substance (bee venom for instance). The only way to mitigate the problem is to make your body think that "allergen" is not foreign anymore

    So, small amount of "allergen", which is small enough do not provoke the reaction, injected on the regular basis for long period of time make you body think that this "allergen" is a part of the normal life and protection is not needed anymore - eventually in the lucky case, body would stop overreacting.

    From this prospective, it is absolutely unimportant who would inject the "allergen" (bee venom) - bee or doctor. What is important is a dose - how many bee-equivalent and how often. You have to understand that if you are not serious about the treatment, your situation probably would get worse and eventually could separate you from bees. You really need to do desensibilisation very meticulously. Good luck!
    Серёжа, Sergey

  8. #7
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    Default Re: So now I am allergic to Honeybees.....

    Same thing happened to me 30 years ago. Probably got stung 10 times a week, just a little swelling. Then 1 sting would send me to the ER. Told by the doctor to give up bees. I had to give it up. 5 years ago I started taking allergy shots for hayfever. I mentioned to the allergist about bee stings and she told me immunizations for stings were usually very successful. Started taking the shots the next week. As far as the shots go, less painful than a sting. The nurse giving me the shot would try to hide the needle so I wouldn't see it till I told her there was no need to hide it. Guess you just have to decide how much you want to keep bees. If you do decide to take the shots I'd sure like to hear how it gos. Good luck.

  9. #8
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    Default Re: So now I am allergic to Honeybees.....

    Quote Originally Posted by xcugat View Post
    The treatment is weekly desensitization shots for several years. I asked the Doc the max dose and he said the maintenance treatment is two bees worth of venom. The day before hearing this news I was stung 6 times and other than feeling ill as noted above and taking two benydryl right away I had no other ill effects.

    I really do not understand how if being stung so many times made me sensitive to the venom that now being shot in the arm with the venom is going to desensitize me. Unless I was allergic the whole time and just never had effects or knew it?
    My understanding is that you need the same amount of dose consistently- hence the allergy shots. Also, you start out weekly, or even a few times a week, but taper off to monthly. While I was not anaphalactically allergic, I was heading there. The shots made a huge difference.
    karla

  10. #9
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    Default Re: So now I am allergic to Honeybees.....

    I am an allergy suffer with a background in dentistry. Ive had allergy injections at several times in my life. While they have helpednthe best is to minimize exposure to the allergen. The bee besensiziation of 2 sting equivalent is tough to titrate if your getting stung because each bee may not have equivalent venom. The one that you mash the stinger instead of scraping it out with a credit card injects more venom. Sometime it gets stuck in the epidermis and not into the dermis. It could inject direct into a superficial vein on your wrist and go directly to affect your heart. A scalp ear or neck. Could produce a more intense reaction than say an ankle. The main issue is people have a very active immune systemit seeks out issues, foreign protiens, and toxins to work its magic on. Unfortunately, sometimes it doesn't know how to modulate (regulate) its response. Personally, my bugaboo is molds. Wet rainy conditions cause a sneezing runny nose fit. Fortunately allergra works great.

    As to allergic desensation shots it sounds like you were given good advise. I would ask about the use of benedryl. I personally keep it in my glove box in liquid form. I feel it would work faster in annemergency. Not as asubstitut foraepi pen. I have also told my family if I go down while working my bees to not approach me without protestive gear. First rule of first aid is not to become avictim yourself

  11. #10
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    Default Re: So now I am allergic to Honeybees.....

    After several years of beekeeping, and dozens of stings without any major problems, I had a systemic reaction last fall, and now an allergist is recommending desensitization shots. I'll probably do that, but I had the same question xcugat had: If the shots are delivering venom, a little at a time, and gradually building up immunity, can't I do that by myself?

    I mean. Go out to the hive, fully suited and gloved. Pick out a young bee and take it somewhere else. Then-- with Epipen in one hand and cell phone in the other-- have it sting me. Scrape out the stinger right away. If that does OK, do it again in a week or so. Etc. Crazy idea?

  12. #11
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    Default Re: So now I am allergic to Honeybees.....

    If you are going to do it yourself, at the very least I would recommend you suit up, jar up some bees drive to the Dr's office and sting yourself in the parking lot. Wait 20 min, no reaction go home. If there is a reaction, no need to wait on an ambulance you are already there. Heck of alot cheaper than paying a co-pay for a Dr visit each time.

  13. #12
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    Thumbs down Re: So now I am allergic to Honeybees.....

    Philll, that sounds like a bad idea to me because the desensitization starts with very small, measured doses, and, on-site medical treatment if you need it. You can't control the dose reliably with your self-administered chance at euthanasia. Just a thought.
    ...We don't see things as they are, we see things as WE are...

  14. #13
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    Default Re: So now I am allergic to Honeybees.....

    >If you are going to do it yourself, at the very least I would recommend you suit up, jar up some bees drive to the Dr's office and sting yourself in the parking lot. Wait 20 min, no reaction go home. If there is a reaction, no need to wait on an ambulance you are already there. Heck of alot cheaper than paying a co-pay for a Dr visit each time.

    That's what I always figured I'd do if I was in that position, although I was thinking outside the emergency room... Plus have someone with me in case I find myself helpless.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  15. #14
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    Default Re: So now I am allergic to Honeybees.....

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    >If you are going to do it yourself, at the very least I would recommend you suit up, jar up some bees drive to the Dr's office and sting yourself in the parking lot. Wait 20 min, no reaction go home. If there is a reaction, no need to wait on an ambulance you are already there. Heck of alot cheaper than paying a co-pay for a Dr visit each time.

    That's what I always figured I'd do if I was in that position, although I was thinking outside the emergency room... Plus have someone with me in case I find myself helpless.
    my Dr is pretty good with emergencies if he's there. To go to the ER the closest one is in another state LOL

  16. #15
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    Default Re: So now I am allergic to Honeybees.....

    my mother was told that she was allergic to bee venom but her foot was bothering her so bad she decided to let me do a micro-sting to test her for sensitivity. I do have an epi-pen at my house and liquid benedryl on hand. I did the micro-sting inside with her sitting down. I only left it in for 2 seconds before I removed it. She had no adverse reaction after 20 min so I did another sting on the foot and left it there for 10 seconds. She had the typical local reaction of small swelling but she got relief from her sore foot.

    So if I were going to try to desensitize myself, it would be with the help of someone else, starting on an extremity, and doing a micro sting or two. sitting in the parking lot of the ER isn't a bad idea, but just by you being there, it can get you worked up and nervous and that can lead to a more intense reaction than if you were sitting comfortably somewhere.

  17. #16
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    Default Re: So now I am allergic to Honeybees.....

    Xcuqat

    I’m allergic to honeybees. Work with your doctor. Get in the bee sensitizing program now. Your insurance will pay for most of it. It makes no sense for you to give yourself the shots. The program last up to 5 years. The first 6 weeks you get 3 shots weekly for 6 weeks. After that you get one every 4 weeks for the first year. The second year, you get a shot every 6 weeks for the year. Your 3rd year you get one shot every 8 weeks for the year. Your doctor will give you another blood test after 3 years. If you test ok your done with the program. If you test positive you continue the program for two more years. The shots cost about 40 dollars per shot. Very cheap. If you cant do this. You are a bomb waiting to explode. I know what its like to have a serious reaction. Don t fool around with nature. Get in the program now. I'm almost 2 years into it. So far I havent had any problems with bee stings. I fully protect myself when I open up my hives. It will make you a better beekeeper.

  18. #17
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    Default Re: So now I am allergic to Honeybees.....

    Quote Originally Posted by xcugat View Post
    The treatment is weekly desensitization shots for several years.
    No, not true.
    The shots will begin with frequent shots of low value and slowly ratchet up to final maintenance shots that are one per month, equivalent to two bee stings.
    Most clinics do not require an appointment for the shots.
    Also, you are given a window of time to receive each shot.
    So, on the way home from work works well. And if a problem arises and you can't make it, go the next day.
    You walk in, sign in, get your shot, set in the lobby for 1/2 hour, walk back into the nurses area and show them the shot zone, and leave.
    After a couple of years most beekeepers notice that bee stings no longer have any reaction of any kind. No itchyness, no swelling, no nothing.
    In fact many beekeepers report that they are in much better condition that before their event that triggered treatment.
    After that most beekeepers will begin to get stiung again quite regularly with zero reaction and usually go off the monthly shots at around 3 years.
    And now I,, Ummm,,cough, cough,, I meant THEY, Have zero sensitivity to stings.. 5 minutes after a sting it's like, "which hand was that?"
    Do it!
    I have exactly ONE more hive than you.
    That makes my opinion beyond dispute!

  19. #18
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    Default Re: So now I am allergic to Honeybees.....

    If an adult has one systemic reaction to a bee sting, their chances of another reaction after another sting are 30-60 per cent. A systemic reaction is more than a localized reaction which is defined as painful swelling and redness limited to areas surrounding the sting (one small to large area). Systemic reactions include widespread hives and angioedema (hives are surface swellings of the skin and angioedema is a swelling under the surface of the skin, usually occurs around the eyes and lips, may include hands, feet and throat) as well as anaphylaxis which may begin with a feeling of anxiety with warmth, itching and redness of skin, nasal itch, congestion, runny nose and sneezing. There may be a swelling of the lips, tongue and throat, with a sensation of tightness in the throat and hoarseness. There can be nausea, cramping of the stomach, vomiting, diarrhea and difficulty swallowing. There may be a feeling of dizziness or faintness, chest pain, rapid (or slow) or irregular heartbeat, low blood pressure, shortness of breath, deep or repetitive cough, wheezing and tunnel vision, difficulty hearing, confusion or loss of consciousness.

    Treatment with venom immunotherapy (desensitization) is very effective for avoiding future severe reactions and is usually begun with very small doses on a weekly schedule, slowly increasing the dosage for a period of 2-1/2 to 5 months until a maintenance dose level is reached which is eventually given every 4 weeks for about a year, every 6 weeks for a year and then every 8 weeks or more (10-12 weeks) for a total time of 5 years at which time it is usually terminated but under certain circumstances continued indefinitely. Generally a minimally sedating antihistamine is administered in the morning of the day the venom is administered.(Allegra or Zyrtec)

    A typical bee sting contains approximately 50 micrograms of venom. Dosing of the venom is usually begun with doses of 0.001 mcg, 0.005 mcg or up to 1 microgram and slowly increased weekly to 100 mcgs (maintenance dose) at the 2-1/2 to 5 month time frame, at which time the every 4 week schedule is begun.

    The above information is not intended to be a guide to self treatment but only an overview of the recommended, effective treatments that are currently in use by allergists/immunologists who have training and experience in the diagnosis and treatment of insect allergy.
    If you only have a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.
    Abraham Maslow

  20. #19
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    Default Re: So now I am allergic to Honeybees.....

    I believe apitherapists do this very thing and you may wish to consult one. If I remember correctly, it is fairly easy but does require extreme caution and following set procedures and that it does not take years to do. It is probably much cheaper. An epi pen is required as are other precautions.

    As I recall, it seems that those allergic to bees also seem to have possible allergies to propolis and/or honey.

    When we went for apitherapy, the apitherapist did a test sting to test for allergy before proceeding. She left the stinger in for only a brief time. She said any allergy would show itself within 20 minutes and if there was no allergic reaction we would proceed. We were told not to sting on an empty stomach or drink alcohol 24 hours before or after stinging. She also mentioned that some people take medications that interfere with epi pen effectiveness. Also, stinging is not supposed to be done to someone taking certain medications..... even some over the counter meds.

    I do wonder sometimes if beekeepers having "one" episode could be something else in play besides allergy. Not that it can't be allergy, but that some are reactions not due to allergy. Like I said, medications, no food in stomach, alcohol, etc....

    No two people are alike and bee stings themselves can differ.

    I am not a doctor. Proceed at your own risk.

  21. #20
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    Default Re: So now I am allergic to Honeybees.....

    BeeBliss, I've asked myself that same question too.

    In my case, the one systemic reaction came just after I'd recovered from a bout with the flu. So for a week before it, I'd been taking Ibuprofen. I know some people think that's a trigger.

    Still today, a few months later, I'm testing high for sensitivity. Yet doctors admit the tests aren't particularly good at predicting who will have a bad reaction. There's an awful lot we don't know about allergies.

    Probably I'll end up getting the shots. But I can't help asking the questions and looking at alternatives. (Yes, I'll take a look at apitherapy.) If what I need is regular doses of bee venom, it seems strange to drive a half-hour to the doctor's office when I have thousands of potential volunteers in my back yard. And they don't charge a co-payment.

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