What to ask at allergy Dr
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2019
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    Jasper, Georgia, USA
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    11

    Default What to ask at allergy Dr

    Future beek and can not remember the last time I was stung by a honey bee.
    Get popped by a wasp once or twice a year with only localized swelling and
    redness. Wife is quite a bit more allergic to wasps than I and also can not
    remember her last true bee sting.

    Should either of us get tested? EpiPen? Other questions I have not thought
    of? Have pollen allergies and taking immunotherapy injections. By
    coincidence my annual check up is Tuesday so will ask while I'm there.

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Location
    frederick, md
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    840

    Default Re: What to ask at allergy Dr

    I had been stung a lot as a kid, but not as a adult. We got a epipen just in case until we knew how we would react. Still have never used it, now hardly react to stings.
    I was not worried but hubby was.
    Zone 6b: 27 hives in Maryland, Carniolan, Italian mix mutts: Still learning - started bees spring of 2014.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Location
    Litchfield, Ct, USA
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    246

    Default Re: What to ask at allergy Dr

    I wonder if Primatene Mist is a suitable substitute to an Epi pen. Both are epinephrine I think. Seems it would be easier to breathe in a cheap OTC inhaler as opposed to jabbing yourself with a pen. Plus you'd be able to dose yourself as needed with Primatene, as opposed to jabbing yourself once with the Epi.

    to op: I've heard potential horror stories of being allergic, but haven't heard many horror stories of being allergic. I guess this forum isn't a reliable source in that most everybody that posts here isn't likely to be allergic.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Location
    Rutland County, Vermont,USA
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    2,177

    Default Re: What to ask at allergy Dr

    If you are allergic to pollen, you know that is a potential problem, right? Perhaps it can be dealt with by wearing the proper protection depending how allergic you are. You could ask for a bee venom test if you are worried about being allergic. J

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2019
    Location
    Jasper, Georgia, USA
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    11

    Default Re: What to ask at allergy Dr

    Ah, "Less expensive alternatives to EpiPen" is a question I had not thought
    of. Not sure Primatene Mist will be the answer. Do remember the news just a
    few years ago about the makers of EpiPen price gouging. Think they backed
    down just enough to make the stories go away.

    Hoping the Doctor will bring up pollen therapy. Filling the gaps in what I
    was tested for is one of the (many) reasons for getting into beekeeping.
    Very few Doctors are accepting of alternative treatments so will need to
    tread lightly on this subject.

    This is actually my second time with immunotherapy injections. Did it back in
    the mid to late 80s and it literally cured me for twenty years. Gradually
    wore off, moved a couple of times so that probably contributed. Protocol has
    changed a lot since then as well. Tested for fewer allergens this round, but
    the build up to max dose was faster. Wait time after receiving injections is
    far longer now. Thank goodness for smart phones! Cause their choice waiting
    room magazines is pathetic.

    Thanks everyone! May update this evening if I learn anything relevant to
    beekeeping.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    53,913

    Default Re: What to ask at allergy Dr

    I suppose I'm cheap and old fashioned. I have never talked to allergist in my life that I know of... If I was concerned, I'd park outside the emergency room with a partner and sting myself a few times before I would pay an allergist when i haven't ever had a reaction...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Location
    Lambton Shores, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    277

    Default Re: What to ask at allergy Dr

    My perspective (as an immunologist, but not a medical professional).

    1. Wasp venom is completely unlike bee venom, so sensitivity to one does not indicate sensitivity to the other.
    2. If you've been stung previously and not ended up in serious medical condition, than it is unlikely that you have an allergy. Allergies do not generate spontaneously, and require exposure to the allergen (e.g. bee venom) to form.
    3. As a beekeeper, you are more likely to be stung than a non-beekeeping person. This can increase your risk of developing an allergy, so even if not allergic now, you may develop allergies in the future. You (and your wife) should continually monitor your responses to bee stings, and if they start to change/worsen, consult a doctor.
    4. Unless you have a diagnosed allergy, an epipen is overkill. They are expensive, have a limited lifespan (e.g. need frequent replacement), and are considered to be hazardous to use on people without a severe enough allergy. OTC benadryl (diphenhydramine) is a sufficient emergency treatment for people without diagnosed allergy, and is what most health agencies recommend you carry as a shelf-stable "emergency" allergy treatment for people without a diagnosed severe allergy. In either case (epipen or benidryl), if you do have a strong allergic repsonse, take the meds and then go straight to an emergency room. Both are "keep you from immediately dying" treatments, requiring follow-up with a medical professional.
    5. A visit to an allergist may help address your concerns, but given any evidence of a preexisting allergy, is unlikely to reveal an unexpected result.
    6. Don't take medical advice from the internet...even from someone like myself.

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Niagara Co., NY, USA
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    133

    Default Re: What to ask at allergy Dr

    The last two answers are great! I especially like MB's idea!

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2019
    Location
    Jasper, Georgia, USA
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    11

    Default Re: What to ask at allergy Dr

    Michael, I like the way you think! Though I don't think you have priced an ER
    visit recently. Around here it is $1400 just to check in and anything else is extra.

    SuiGeneris, suspected much of your 1-3 which is why I asked to begin with.
    Thanks for confirming.

    Sort of agree with #4, but would rather have one (now do) and never need it
    than not have one at all. Father in-law carried an EpiPen for years (retired
    brick mason) and actually had to have it used on him once. Coworker
    administered it. With insurance a generic twin pack cost me $10 out of
    pocket. Receipt shows $360 as 'cash' price which is a little over half what
    the name brand runs. Guessing the insurance negotiated price is somewhere in between.

    BTW, already have a jacket / veil which will probably be more than adequate for me. Planing on getting a full multi layer suit for my wife.

    #5 is true enough, however I was going anyway.

    Can not argue with #6! Could add to it but would need to move to the Coffee Klatch

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    53,913

    Default Re: What to ask at allergy Dr

    >Michael, I like the way you think! Though I don't think you have priced an ER
    visit recently. Around here it is $1400 just to check in and anything else is extra.

    I have. The odds of you being allergic are very low. You will get stung if you keep bees. Me, I wouldn't worry about it, but if you are worried, wouldn't you rather you were outside the ER when things go bad?
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
    Location
    Winston-Salem, NC
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    335

    Default Re: What to ask at allergy Dr

    I just picked up an epipen an hour ago, with insurance it was only $10
    NCSBA Certified Beekeeper - my Youtube Vlog
    https://www.youtube.com/c/BackyardBeesNC

  13. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2019
    Location
    Jasper, Georgia, USA
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    11

    Default Re: What to ask at allergy Dr

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    I have. The odds of you being allergic are very low. You will get stung if you keep bees. Me, I wouldn't worry about it, but if you are worried, wouldn't you rather you were outside the ER when things go bad?
    Ah, get it now. My mind went to the difference between an ER visit and a normal office visit. If you stay in the parking lot no bill at all.

    Also forgot to mention that the testing for venom only tells if you have ever been exposed, not how allergic you are. Decided to not have any tests done.

  14. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Location
    Rutland County, Vermont,USA
    Posts
    2,177

    Default Re: What to ask at allergy Dr

    If you are worried then sting yourself with a loved one nearby and some benadryl handy. If you have a bad reaction, take the benadryl and head to the ER. I tested myself when I first got bees by putting a few in the freezer for a few minutes to make them easy to handle so I could choose where I got stung. J

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