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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Thanks for looking over my question.

(( I do want to note that I am not looking for medical advice, only looking for similar experiences to share if possible, thanks))

I'm a first year beekeeper and I have a question about bee sting reactions, and I wanted to get some personal input if possible.

I've had my hives for a few months now and I have sustained a fair amount of stings. I do have a nice suit, but these are my errors, such as removing the veil too soon for one of the stings, plus some other newbie moves.

For the most part the bee stings have been 'normal.' Some pain to the sting site, some swelling and for me, and lots of itching.

Two weeks ago I got stung in the back of the head, as well as the elbow and I was unable to get the stinger out, so I got a good dose. Within minutes, and for the first time, I began to itch all over my arms and legs and that subsided within an hour or so. No other issues from there.

Today I took a single sting to the ankle, and within minutes I was feeling so itchy on the arms, legs and groin area that I decided to take a cold shower, which actually worked well. However, I did notice that both my groin area and around to the back side of my ass area had a pretty large bright red rash (TMI?), which was gone within an hour or so, and I did not take any medication.

I understand that this is an anaphylaxis reaction, which is new to me. I've never had issues outside of the actual sting site in the past, so I am wondering if I might expect future stings to get worse, or the opposite? I've read both, and I was hoping to hear from anybody who's had similar experiences and how things progressed for them.

I should add that there were no issues with breathing, and I'd rather not have anaphylaxis in my medical records unless absolutely necessary. In-other-wrods, no Eppi Pens for me at this point. And I do carry liquid Benadryl if needed, but I have yet to use it, as I did not want to get sleepy that day.


Thanks again,
b1rd
 

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That has happened to me on two occasions several years apart. You will probably get more tolerant, or maybe not. Don't worry, but be careful.
 

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Do not accept opinions from this source as to medical circumstances - you save nothing with free advice if you lose your life. Make an appointment with a medical doctor; you will be more likely to be beekeeping for years to come by following such medical advice.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Do not accept opinions from this source as to medical circumstances
Understood.

However, I am only looking to hear similar experiences, not looking for medical advise.


b1rd
 

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Reactions away from the sting site could be systemic. I believe this is a common start to being allergic. But I'm no doctor and it's only what I read.
 

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Understood.

However, I am only looking to hear similar experiences, not looking for medical advise.


b1rd

That is an interesting reaction. Do you swell from the stings at all or just the itching?

I'd recommend getting an epi-pen on hand.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
My reactions have been normal in the past.

Sometimes a decent amount of swelling, and I've had no swelling on occasion, but always a fair amount of itching. These last two incidents were the first times things were different.

Agreed on the epi-pen, however I'm not sure where the USA will be with "pre-exsiting conditions" as far as medical insurance, so I'd like to avoid having anaphylaxis on my record. I'm not saying it's the wise thing to do, it's just how I want to handle it for now. And perhaps I'll learn to be more mindful with my PPE.

Thanks again,
b1rd
 

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Your descriptions of your reactions are not normal reactions to bee stings. The advice to get medical help is spot-on, but as you figure, get the medical insurance first so it is not an existing condition.
 

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Get checked for allergies but in the meantime take a benadryl before you go hive diving and see if that helps.
 

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I just have swelling at the sting site.
One time at 20-30 stings I did have the whole body flush and the itching and some breathing challenges.

Go slow on the inspections, until you get the "insurance" angle covered, Backout after the first sting so you do not have the "several" event.
try not to need the full hive inspections.
Watch the weather, the times I get stung is when something is coming in Front wize That I was not aware of.

wear thicker stuff to help the stings be clothing only.

good luck

GG
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I've gone ahead and requested an Rx for an epi-pen after all, and take the hit on my medical record. The "rash" that I mentioned earlier was actually bright red hives, so I'll be smart about this. I suppose I was hoping to hear lots of people telling me how common it is. Sadly, it took a night to ponder on this pretty important decision simply out of fear of a possible medical insurance increase down the road. I think if most people knew how much some of us pay in S. California for medical, their jaws would drop.

Thanks for the help.


b1rd


PS- If anybody does stumble across this wondering the same, then I wanted to go into a bit more detail:

Prior or becoming a beekeeper, I was maybe stung (6) times or so, perhaps a bit more as we enjoyed messing with the bees in the canyon as a kid. The reactions were always as expected. Some pain, itching and swelling only.

Since I got my own bees (4/2020), and prior to yesterday's incident, I've been stung a guesstimated (6-9) times in different areas of the body, including a couple times to the head, and all of the reactions have been as expected.

About a month ago I was stung on the bottom of the hand, and within minutes the top of the same hand was very itchy. Then the opposite hand became itchy. This was the extent, but this was the first time I had issues away from the sting site.

A couple of weeks later I was stung on the back of the head and elbow (running away from some of my sweet bees without PPE) and this time my entire body felt itchy, I felt a bit dizzy and a bit uncomfortable for about an hour and I did take a couple of Benadry with that one.

Yesterday is what prompted this post. I was stung once on the ankle, and within minutes my entire body felt like I had heat prickle. I was warm, itchy and a bit dizzy, however there were no indications of breathing issues or any swelling, so I opted for a cool shower, which help a lot. But I also saw that I had bright red hives around the front side of my waist area that went around to the backside. I was shocked to be honest, but everything was fine within an hour.

Thanks again~
 

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50+ years ago, One sting on the ear and it swelled up twice its size. I was told I was allergic to wasp stings Over the years I have accidentally tested this many times with both bees and wasps. I have not had a bad reaction since. May 2020 I got my first hive, and sting. One got my forehead and I didn't remove the stinger for an hour. Slight swelling and very moderate pain. Three weeks later and I got stung on the nose, Removed the stinger quickly and had no swelling and minimum pain. Two months later I got stung thru my bee glove in the middle finger, No pain but 25% swelling and stiffness and itching lasted for three days. The bees kept going for that finger so I put tape over that finger. Found out I had to remove a few stingers from that glove and we get along fine now.
 

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b1rd

It maybe your body is telling you a simple, honest fact - beekeeping is not for you.
What if you get 3-4 stings at once?

For sure get tested for your allergies.

But also, be serious about preventing even a single sting since your body does not bode well with it.
Ignore the fact some people can walk away after 100s of stings.
This should not concern you personally.

People have different theories.
Mike Palmer theorizes that beekeeper family members tend to develop more allergy vs. regular people (because they are exposed more).
I would counter that I feel just the opposite - being "inoculated" by the bees and by the bee products on my Dads bee yard early on does help me now.
Just another, untested theory.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
b1rd

It maybe your body is telling you a simple, honest fact - beekeeping is not for you.
I'm not even close to thinking about that yet :(, but thanks. The epi-pen Rx was approved and I'll have that in a couple of hours, and I plan on fully suiting up for most things from here on.
 

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Like they said, see a doctor.

But until you do, keep a bottle of liquid Benadryl handy.
 

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About a month ago I was stung on the bottom of the hand, and within minutes the top of the same hand was very itchy. Then the opposite hand became itchy. This was the extent, but this was the first time I had issues away from the sting site.

A couple of weeks later I was stung on the back of the head and elbow (running away from some of my sweet bees without PPE) and this time my entire body felt itchy, I felt a bit dizzy and a bit uncomfortable for about an hour and I did take a couple of Benadry with that one.

Yesterday is what prompted this post. I was stung once on the ankle, and within minutes my entire body felt like I had heat prickle. I was warm, itchy and a bit dizzy, however there were no indications of breathing issues or any swelling, so I opted for a cool shower, which help a lot. But I also saw that I had bright red hives around the front side of my waist area that went around to the backside. I was shocked to be honest, but everything was fine within an hour.
Yeah - that's not good - it's pretty obvious that your body's level of reaction is building up. Which is fortunate really - as some folks never get this kind of extended warning - they just get hit with a pile-driver of an immune reaction.

The bottom line is that each person reacts differently to stings. My body has never adjusted to them - I can still get a swollen hand from one sting, and yet no reaction from another, weird. Worse in the Spring, and tends to fall away as the season progresses - that then repeats the following year. Thankfully it's never got any worse - i.e. systemic - but has stayed restricted (more-or-less) to the injection site, so I've just learned to live with it. I still hate being stung though, and still use bad language when it happens ...

You're being very wise in taking precautions - pity about the medicare costs.
Stay safe.
LJ
 

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Itching for only a few days?? Wow you’re lucky! I itch for at least a week or two! It drives me insane! My sting reaction has typically just been swelling at the sting site, redness, and itching. The swelling, pain, and redness usually dissipate within a day or two. But the itch lingers soo long! That’s why I always suit up head to toe! I have an ultra-breeze suit that I love dearly and some regular beekeeping gloves. Fortunately I have only been stung once while suited up, my dumb self did a cut out from a fallen tree and wore sneakers and didn’t bother to put rubber bands over my ankle area. And one of those girls found my bare ankle quickly! Luckily I had brought rubber bands to band in the comb sections I cut. So I sealed up my ankles that way and now I always put a band over my ankles. The suit has elastic in that part and it usually stays fine if I wear boots. But not well with low top sneakers. But even with boots on now I take care to add an extra rubber band around my ankles. Also if/when you do get stung and remove the stinger try puffing some smoke on the sting site to help cover up that alarm pheromone and hopefully avoid another sting! Good luck and stay safe! Sad to see this season coming to a close soon. But at least in my area we have our fall flow starting! 😁
 

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Whoever ordered the Rx for the epi-pen can also order a blood test for honeybee allergy (I got my at Labcorp; it's nothing fancy). As I recall, you have to wait 21 days after your reaction to get it. They should also order a Tryptase level test at the same time. I had the exact same escalation of reactions as you but didn't think much of them until I got stung by a single bee after I took my suit off, scraped the stinger out, and collapsed. Per the fine firemen who showed up, my Blood Pressure was about 10. Again, because I recovered without an epi-pen, I didn't think much of it until my brother -- who is both an MD and a beekeeper -- heard about my reaction and demanded I see an allergist. (Fortunately I already had health insurance) I discovered that not only was I allergic to honeybees but I had a mast cell disorder which made me more sensitive. Did the whole round of desensitization which means I can (hopefully) be stung once or twice without a reaction. I still have bees but do not go out to the hives without a Bee Buddy who always knows where my epi-pen is. Also invested in the UltraBreeze.

Yes, some people get more and more tolerant of bee stings. But in the UK they discovered 30% of all beekeepers had developed a bee sting allergy over time. They also discovered that taking Benadryl before you went out produced a worse reaction. Zantac is what I was advised to take but it is off the market now. Not sure what the current recommendation is.
 
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