Went into anaphylaxis yesterday- what now?
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  1. #1
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    Default Went into anaphylaxis yesterday- what now?

    This is a copy/past from my thread started on another beekeeping forum, my apologies for those of you who are memebers on both for the double exposure, but I am really curious about as many opinions on this as I can get.



    Hello everyone,

    I am curious what people that have encountered my situation decided and what everybody else thinks of this.

    I have been keeping bees for 2 years now, this is the third. I have been stung a few times since I started and although I always got a decent amount of swelling at the site of the sting, I have never develoiped a sistemic(generalized reaction). Unitl yesterday. Got stung on my neck (I made the mistake to use my three pieace suit - bants, jacket, veil- as opposed to on of my one pieces amd one bee found its way under the veil, must have not sealed around the neck perfectly). WIthin a minute the soles of my feet were itching, my face got swolllen fairly fast, at which point I went to the emergency room. By the time I got there my body was a huge hive (please excuse the pun, hive as in skin rash). Dic looked into my throat and it was red, but luckily never got to the point where it was too swollen to be able to breathe- I do not want to linger too long on the question of whether that would have happened if I did not get to the emergency room that fast.

    Any ways there are my questions.

    - Any of you beekeepers went into anaphylaxis during your beekeeping years? If yes, have you though giving it up for a hobby? If yes, what made you stick with it (I suspect that if you are members here, you all still keep bees)?

    - For the vast majority of you guys here, who I suspect have only a mild reaction to a bee sting- if this happened to you, would you give beekeeping up? Would you stick with it and be VERY VERY careful? By the way I had 2 epipens with me while checking on the bees so I am pretty counscious of the risks involed and quite proactive about them.

    I really enoy beekeeping and it would break my heart if/when I woud completely give it up. So I am trying to think it through as thoroughly as I can and make the right decision. I was hoping I can get a few suggestions from fellow beekeepers that might have gone thourhg this before.

    Thank you!
    Last edited by thousandwords; 05-19-2018 at 09:01 AM.

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: Went into anaphylaxis yesterday- what now?

    Quote Originally Posted by thousandwords View Post
    [...] if you were me, would you give beekeeping up? Would you stick with it and be VERY VERY careful?
    But I'm not you, and this is something you need to decide about for yourself, and not be influenced by what other people might, or might not do - it's far too important for that.

    Seems to me you have two choices: one is to give up beekeeping. The other is to seek medical assistance - there are programs of building-up tolerance to bee-stings under medical supervision. I'm sure someone on here will be able to advise you how to go about registering for one in your State.

    Best of luck.
    LJ
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

  4. #3
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    Default Re: Went into anaphylaxis yesterday- what now?

    Fair answer- thank you so much for that. I guess what I was really curious about was what people would do if same happened to them ha ha. I will probably revisit my original post and reword the question for clarification.

    Thanks again!

  5. #4
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    Default Re: Went into anaphylaxis yesterday- what now?

    I agree with littlejohn. You need to have a convorsation with a few doctors, and then you and your family should make the decision. You can decide to roll the dice, but I also think your loved ones should have some say in the matter as well.

  6. #5
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    Default Re: Went into anaphylaxis yesterday- what now?

    Quote Originally Posted by little_john View Post
    But I'm not you, and this is something you need to decide about for yourself, and not be influenced by what other people might, or might not do - it's far too important for that.

    Seems to me you have two choices: one is to give up beekeeping. The other is to seek medical assistance - there are programs of building-up tolerance to bee-stings under medical supervision. I'm sure someone on here will be able to advise you how to go about registering for one in your State.

    Best of luck.
    LJ
    Quote Originally Posted by trottet1 View Post
    I agree with littlejohn. You need to have a convorsation with a few doctors, and then you and your family should make the decision. You can decide to roll the dice, but I also think your loved ones should have some say in the matter as well.

    Great advice again- thanks!

    One of the speeches at the bee school was given by a doctor who is a beekeeper that went through a simialr situation as myself. She is still keepeing bees. I will talk to her again as she is a neighbour and ask for her advise again.

    I aslo started desensitisation therapy a few months ago but had to teporarily interrupt because work schedule prevented me from making 3 or 4 sessions in a row. Working on being able to restart it and be able to work around work to make the sessions.

    I will most definitely talk with family about it as well- their feedback will be paramount in making my decision.


    I should have mentioned all this in my original post as all this is very important to consider.

    All this being said, I guess my question still stand- different people react to same situation differently- so, leaving myselt out of this for a moment- what would others do in the same situation? This is what I would like to find out.

  7. #6
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    Default Re: Went into anaphylaxis yesterday- what now?

    All this being said, I guess my question still stand- different people react to same situation differently- so, leaving myselt out of this for a moment- what would others do in the same situation? This is what I would like to find out.
    You probably won't like my answer, but you did ask, "what would you do" twice.

    I am very passionate about beekeeping as well. It has changed me (for the better) as a person. It has taught me patience, it actually calms me and relieves anxiety. I have met some very nice and intelligent people on this very forum. Beekeeping has actually made me smarter. I may go as far as saying that this hobby has been life changing. All that being said, if it were to put my well being in jeopardy, I would walk away from it. I would concentrate on past interests that I put on hold for beekeeping. I'd buy another bass boat, maybe spend more time learning photography. The point is, I'd find something else to be passionate about... something that didn't want to harm me. But, this is what I would do. Without even knowing you, i can say with certainty, that we are two different people and would hope that you would not let me influence your decision. Maybe you don't want to be passionate about another hobby. I can respect that.

    Todd

  8. #7
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    Default Re: Went into anaphylaxis yesterday- what now?

    Quote Originally Posted by trottet1 View Post
    You probably won't like my answer, but you did ask, "what would you do" twice.

    I am very passionate about beekeeping as well. It has changed me (for the better) as a person. It has taught me patience, it actually calms me and relieves anxiety. I have met some very nice and intelligent people on this very forum. Beekeeping has actually made me smarter. I may go as far as saying that this hobby has been life changing. All that being said, if it were to put my well being in jeopardy, I would walk away from it. I would concentrate on past interests that I put on hold for beekeeping. I'd buy another bass boat, maybe spend more time learning photography. The point is, I'd find something else to be passionate about... something that didn't want to harm me. But, this is what I would do. Without even knowing you, i can say with certainty, that we are two different people and would hope that you would not let me influence your decision. Maybe you don't want to be passionate about another hobby. I can respect that.

    Todd
    Thank you very much Todd, this is exactly the type of thoughts I seek, so not only I do not dislike your answer, I actually really appreciate it!

    And no, I would not be influenced by any answers here, including yours. It is just interesting to see what other experiences for a given situation are out there, that's all.

    As with your actual thoughts, they actually mirror my own for now. I have lots of hobbies in my life, and my first reaction was (and still is) to redirect the time and energy I spend on beekeeping towards those. The reason for posting my questions here is to make sure I weigh the yays and nays as carefully as I can before making a decision that will change my life a little bit, because you echoed my feelings: beekeeping has been transformative for myself in many ways, some of which you mentioned.

  9. #8
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    Default Re: Went into anaphylaxis yesterday- what now?

    There is a commercial beekeeper on this forum, and I apologize but I cannot remember the name, that takes routine treatments for sensitivity to bee stings. Hopefully, he/she will chime in.

  10. #9
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    Default Re: Went into anaphylaxis yesterday- what now?

    I am not going to be able to give you my complete response because it would depend on the results of my attempts to educate myself (perhaps starting with a similar post to this). I would start by learning as much about the immune system as possible. It is very complex. It may even be possible that you are more sensitive to certain levels of poison because you started treatments and then stopped. In addition, there are studies that suggest working with bees and not getting stung primes your body for a very adverse reaction. If I had the passion and the reaction to stings I would study. My life isn't my own. I belong to a number of people very much including my son and wife. Start the t-chart (positives and negatives) here...

  11. #10
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    Default

    Ide get with your doctor and an allergist. Learn how to use epinephrine and stock up on Benadryl. I don't have much of a reaction to stings. If I did ide likely see if my tolerance can be improved with treatment. If that didnt work ide likely give up the hobby or dramitically reduce my hive count to just 1 or 2.

  12. #11
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    Default Re: Went into anaphylaxis yesterday- what now?

    even if you are careful you will get stung... but will you react like that over every little sting? I would suit up, carry an epi-pen and when you get stung next time and need to goto the emergency room again, then give it up, otherwise continue enjoying the hobby... Most of the danger comes from not knowing you will react or not being prepared.. you have that knowledge and can respond deftly if necessary.
    Young queens - Tanner Christianson

  13. #12
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    Default Re: Went into anaphylaxis yesterday- what now?

    Thousandwords, I know you have posed this post as a question, but I think your have subconsciously already made your decision and are seeking validation. That you know you have an allergic reaction to bee venom, are undergoing desensitization therapy, and carry two epipens with you when working the bees tells me you understand the risks and are willing to accept them. This is really a discussion for you to have with your allergist and close family members. Life is short, live large.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  14. #13
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    Default Re: Went into anaphylaxis yesterday- what now?

    I am not going to comment specifically on beekeeping but on life in general.

    Everything you do has some risk but usually also has some sort of reward. You have to come to terms with what level of risk you are willing to accept for the (possible) reward. When making a choice between various options it is often a case of balancing the risk and reward. I think JWpalmer said it well "This is really a discussion for you to have with your allergist and close family members" and that you have to decide on your own.



    Some food for thought (sort of philosophical)

    If you ask a group of people how many of them are afraid of being bitten by a shark when swimming in the ocean (or some other phobia) and compare that to the number of people that are afraid of getting in (and/or dying) in a car accident you will probably find more people afraid of the shark even though a car accident it thousands of times more likely to occur. Some of this reaction is based on compartmentalization (mentally) of the risks, some of it is based on conditioning, and some of it is based on other things (news, Hollywood, ect).

    Every time you get in a car and drive to work (or the store, or a friends, or on vacation, ect...) you are taking a risk of getting in a car accident. Every time you go swimming in the ocean you are also taking a risk of getting bitten by a shark. Life is about balancing risks and rewards.

    Risks do not just have to be physical (allergy reaction), they can also be financial, mental (happiness ect...), effect on others (family, friends, ect) or many other categories. Rewards can also fall into many categories.

    disclaimer: I did not pull the data for car crashes vs shark attacks but it is an easy example to use that most people sort of know about and understand.

    p.s. I have driven many thousands of miles in the last year to go on vacations/weekend getaways/ect. I also go to work every day I am not on vacation (with varying levels of motivation). I have gone swimming in the ocean, but not many times since it is 800+ miles away in any direction. Most people (including me) compartmentalize stuff and do not think about risk vs reward for small items, but it is something to consider for major life choices.

  15. #14
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    Default Re: Went into anaphylaxis yesterday- what now?

    Back in the 80's when I was in my 30's I was in almost the exact same position as you are now. Emergency room and everything. I even went to a specialist for testing but the results were inconclusive. I let my hives die out(or relocate, it was the 80's!) and went on with my life.
    Fast fwd 30+ years and I'm back in the game. I get stung occasionally, last year probably 5 times with only minor reactions. The very first time I popped a benedryl, drove to the emergency room (less than 5 min. away) and only told them why I was there without checking in. After about 1/2 to 3/4 of an hour I still hadn't had any reaction so I came home.
    Allergic reactions are clearly not understood by the medical community @ large.
    I'm glad I got back into it.
    I'm glad my body has changed
    Dean

  16. #15

    Default Re: Went into anaphylaxis yesterday- what now?

    I keep around 150 to 200+ hives. No doubt in my mind, if I had a systemic reaction to a bee sting I'd get out of beekeeping. It seems like such a hugely unnecessary risk. I don't live to keep bees. There are so many other things to do.
    Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted. - Emerson

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    Default Re: Went into anaphylaxis yesterday- what now?

    I started beekeeping 4 years ago. My first few stings produced reactions that took 3-4 days to go away. Last year I got stung on my ankle and I couldn't walk on it for 3 days because of the swelling. Now, I wear a one piece suit, calf high boots and thick leather gloves every single time I go to the bee yard. I put on the suit if I have to do yard work near the hives, too. I carry an epi pen in my suit pocket. Its a pain and very hot but it's either full suit up or quit bee keeping.

  18. #17

    Default Re: Went into anaphylaxis yesterday- what now?

    Quote Originally Posted by f650cs View Post
    I started beekeeping 4 years ago. My first few stings produced reactions that took 3-4 days to go away. Last year I got stung on my ankle and I couldn't walk on it for 3 days because of the swelling.
    Understand that you aren't describing a life threatening, systemic reaction. Yours is a normal reaction....painful but not life and death.
    Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted. - Emerson

  19. #18
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    Default Re: Went into anaphylaxis yesterday- what now?

    No actual anaphylaxis but I did experience a very severe reaction to a sting a few years back. I keep a couple of bottles of Benedryl handy these days. I've been stung many, many times but this once came with a nasty reaction.

  20. #19
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    Default Re: Went into anaphylaxis yesterday- what now?

    You asked for opinion and this is mine;

    You can't make an omelet without breaking some eggs.
    Beekeeping inherently means working with thousands of stinging insects. " When you get stung again" is the operative phrase.
    If I had minor children, my first responsibility is to them. I would take my risks after they are grown. (Try getting life insurance if you're anaphylactic but still keeping bees. $$$$)
    If no minors to be responsible for, decide if your personal risk is worth the joy of beekeeping.
    Never ask a barber it he thinks you need a haircut.

  21. #20
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    Default Re: Went into anaphylaxis yesterday- what now?

    Personally, I would sell my bees. I enjoy bees but they're not worth me dying over.
    Zone 5 @ 4700 ft. High Desert

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