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This is my first year. My first few stings I had a very little reaction, but my last few I've had more and more of a reaction with a lot of swelling. Is this normal and will it continue to get worse?
 

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Where you get stung on your body and how much venom get’s delivered has a good deal to do with reaction, different areas respond more acutely to a sting. I swelled a lot at the start, nearly 30 years ago, but for the most part have no swelling now....except for my hands. Increasing reaction would concern me, especially if you have any itching or reaction away from the site of the sting or any respitory response at all such as tightening in your throat. My dad went through a similar experiance as yours and he did eventually move away from a bad reaction. Keep in mind 1sting if you suffer anaphylaxis may be your last so take proper medical and support precautions if you are concerned such as testing, an Eli pen and someone with you admitted it in an emergency. Getting stung on a regular basis seems to be less of a an issue than being stung with long periods between stings, Maybe because your body may learn to recognize the foreign proteins and react properly. At a certain point even those of us who seem to be immune may get the magic sting, a point when you may have a life threatening reaction. Local reactions concern me much less than any off sting site reaction.
 

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This is my first year. My first few stings I had a very little reaction, but my last few I've had more and more of a reaction with a lot of swelling. Is this normal [...] ?
Well that was also my story - a long time ago. The body takes a little time to build-up antibodies, and then can over-react when it develops a supply. My arms and hands in particular would swell - and the itching drove me nuts. But, over time my body adjusted such that these days a bee-sting results in about the same reaction as a stinging nettle.

Assessment to a sting reaction is highly subjective - one person's 'swelling' is another's "nothing to worry about", but could just as well be yet another person's "warning of much worse to come". I think the most sensible thing to do is monitor your reaction to stings and if it doesn't get significantly worse, then stick with it until the body adjusts over time. But if the reactions should become worse, then it would be prudent to seek medical advice.

One tip I was given which helped enormously in the early days to cure the severe itching (a tip which assumes that the reaction is within normal limits and that the affected person does not have an actual allergy) is to apply a hot compress - such as a face-flannel soaked in the hottest water you can stand - which provided a period of relief such that I could then get some sleep, which ice-cold compresses, calamine lotion, witch hazel etc failed to do.

This works by helping to flush the poisons away from the site and into the main bloodstream - so that needless to say - a hot compress combined with an allergy would be the worst possible action to take.
LJ
 

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This is my first year. My first few stings I had a very little reaction, but my last few I've had more and more of a reaction with a lot of swelling. Is this normal and will it continue to get worse?
This is my first year, 40 stings later, I have got a few in the last few days that bother me a bit, I'm thinking yellow jackets may have got me, they are everywhere.
 

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get Tested by an allergist for bee allergy! I had the same build-up of swelling/itching with each sting getting worse. Turns out I became allergic and at risk for anaphylaxis. I have been taking allergy shots for desensitization and they are working well. Alex
 

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You might consider wearing protection. I use 9 mil nitrile gloves. Very effective, great feel, and long lasting.
When stung I use hydrocortisone and diphenhydramine cream (and lots of it). Also, keep diphenhydramine and loratidine antihistamines (or cimetidine etc). When stung I pop those asap to reduce the symptoms.
I also look for signs of distant swelling and make sure I have a contact person available (to take my body to the hospital if something goes sideways LOL). If your scalp swells after a sting on the hand....bad news. Get help quick. That happened to me on vacation in Mexico. Bees vary in the allergens in their venom. I have less troubles with my bees. Just local itching and inflammation.
 

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> Is this normal

In my experience, yes.

> and will it continue to get worse?

Until it gets better. Then usually you have hardly any reaction at all. As long as you are not having a systemic reaction you are doing fine. Local swelling is normal.
 

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What I have read suggests that local reactions are not predictive of a systemic reaction.

Having spent too many hours around bee hives as a child, I had no reaction at all, other than the pain, which is minor.

After taking up beekeeping as an adult (45 years later) I had no reaction for about 6 months. Then got swelling so bad when stung on a finger - my entire hand swelled up, and the finger was so swollen all the skin peeled off.

After that had less severe reactions, until now (some years later) I rarely have more than a small local reaction - a welt half the diameter of a dime.

Agree with Michael (as usual) local reactions are something to endure, but systemic reactions -itchy red hives, swollen tongue or throat, difficulty breathing, abdominal pain, nausea or vomiting, dizziness, weak rapid pulse, etc. are a medical emergency - you can die pretty quickly.

Please note, this is not a medical opinion, just me repeating what I have read in the past.
 

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Another non-medical reply. We see variation in phenotype over time with our colonies. I think it is reasonable to assume that the venom has some variation as well. I had a systemic reaction in the past but those were Mexican bees. I must admit that I did not check their Passports, but I was in Mexico.
 
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