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Does anyone get their family members (particularly kids) tested for allergies before keeping bees?
 

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no I never did most people are not allergic to bee stings. But I did talk with my doctor and he proscribed epi pens for me just for that rare occurance.
 

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Here in the states, bee venom is not a routine part in allergy testing. Even with the more advanced testing called immunoCap test it doesn't test for bee venom. They test for pollens, foods, animal dander, fungal and yeast spores.
 

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Does anyone get their family members (particularly kids) tested for allergies before keeping bees?
do you have kids that have NEVER been stung by anything? i believe most dont plan to get stung. do you have fears of "killer" bee atacks? seems like much ado about very little. good luck,mike
 

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Although I don't have hives yet I had a big fear of being stung because I didn't know how I was going to react. I hadn't been stung (knowingly) in decades. The last time I was was when I was in my father's Cadillac and a bee somehow came through the air conditioning duct and landed in my hands. The bee let me know it wasn't happy by stinging my finger and I had a pretty good reaction to the venom. My finger swelled up twice the size. So it was more than most would get. I was 8. Remembering that reaction I asked my doctor for an Epi Pen prescription and she gladly gave me one.

Well not too long ago I got my answer as to whether or not I was allergic to bee venom. I got stung while walking the dog. My reaction was minimal thankfully. I didn't have the Epi pen on me when it happened either.
 

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My allergist told me it is a very involved test in which you start with a small injection and work your way up to a full blown simulated stinging incident. The allergen is a special order item and it is somewhat expensive.

Since such a small number of people have a deadly allergic reaction, and an even a smaller group of that number have a deadly allergic reaction the first time they are stung, I did not have my family tested. There is only one of us that has not been stung is my 6 yr/old, we have an epi-pen and Benadryl handy here at home.

I am a full time Paramedic/FF of 17 yrs; so I may be more comfortable than most about this issue. I have only seen 1 person die of a sting (paper wasp) in my career with a department that ran just over 6700 calls last year. Most folks that have a reaction have time to seek medical attention, but again that is most, not all.


Hope this info helps.
RKR
 

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There is a difference between a localized reaction and anaphylactic shock. I think most folks out there confuse a localized reaction with being allergic.

Just because the area around the sting swells does not mean you are allergic. This is your body reacting as it should. Shoot, I was stung on the elbow a couple weeks ago and my entire forearm looked like Popeye's for a couple days. No biggy. It itches a little and looks funny.

I'd keep a couple Epi-pens around just in case because if someone is truly allergic it's not something you want to screw around with (Benadryl works well for less severe reactions).

A cheap way to test is to get a bee and let her sting you (on the knee is good). Leave the stinger in for a couple seconds and then scrape it out. See what happens. Chances are nothing much, maybe some swelling and some itching. Have an Epi-pen handy though.
 

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Please keep a bottle of liquid benedryl handy if you keep bees. If taken quickly (stop what you are doing and take 2 spoons full) it will block the histamine reaction caused by the bee venom.

No, I'm not a doctor I am a victim who experienced an anaphalactic response. The liquid benedryl works very quickly. Also the allergist insists that I take some before getting bee venom shots.

Fuzzy
 

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Besides the other suggestions, look into a daily supplement of Quercetin/Bromelain. I take one tablet a day in the morning and it miraculously relieves me of any allergies. Vitacost has them for about 6 bucks a bottle. With stings, all of us react differently, however, most of us just get a mild reaction. This is one thing to consider if you or your spouse are allergic to stings.
 

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rkr I am a retired Paramedic of 20 plus years and never once had to give any epi for a sting.
 

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My son, when he was younger, had a violent reaction to a sting. Took him to the ER and after 24 hours returned to normal. Doctor told me, in his presence, that the "next sting will kill him."

Also implied was my poor parenting skills that would keep bees within 500 miles of my family.

My son got stung about six weeks later, came into the house all serious thinking he was going to die. That sting resulted in absolutely no swelling, no redness.

I've asked different doctors why my son had these two extreme reactions. He just shrugged his shoulders.

Grant
Jackson, MO
 

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One would think that if the more the issues like stings are around you, the more you'd become tolerant of them, like poison ivy. Once you get it your body has to fight it off, usually. People get comfortable with bees and stop fearing them and kids especially are fearless of most anything when very young.
 

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One would think that if the more the issues like stings are around you, the more you'd become tolerant of them
When I first started keeping the president of our club was a Dr. and he always told us that the next sting could be the one that we would be alergic to.:eek:

For what it is worth I have been tested an told that I was begining to react to the bee sting and this doc wqnted me to take a shot a week (@35 bux a pop) with no end in sight, that was over 4 years ago ( I told her good by real quick) and I react less to stings now than then, I do keep an epi-pen around for people that may get stung while visiting.
 

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Wow, a google search for vitacost brings up 100's of scam alerts, I would be leary of doing business with them.
 

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i keep a bottle of benadryl and an epi pen in the honey house while extracting at all times. Never know.
In the field, I have a bottle of benadryl and two epi pens. We hire staff sometimes and i just do not want to risk it. BUT then most of our bee yards are 1/2 hour to 45 minutes away from a hospital...just driving time.
I have had a few nasty reactions to a bee sting. Not anaphlatic however nasty swelling. One was on the wrist, and the next day my hand and arm to the elbow was so swollen, It looked like the hand of a 300- 400# person. The doctor that time gave a me a prednisone shot that was not administered in the arm. At that point i was told i would not have problems with my athsma for a very very long time. As well i was given injectable antihistamine.

The next reaction was not good. I got 3-4 stings to the top of my head and the swelling closed my eyes, swelled up my nose to 4x the size and my lips were huge. No anaphlatic there. Just 4 benadryl tablets and lights out.

But then there are just some stings that hurt and you get no reaction at all. Nothing nada. Just a bit of a sharp pain.

I think the best thing is to be prepared and hope you do not have to use them.
 

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My allergist told me it is a very involved test in which you start with a small injection and work your way up to a full blown simulated stinging incident. The allergen is a special order item and it is somewhat expensive.
I am going through desensitization for what is called a large local reaction- basically this type of reaction was a huge inconveinance, but not lethal, although it could have become so. I got tested and reacted immediately to honeybees, but not to any other stinging insect. Go figure. I have a day job, and I could not keep getting stung on the finger or hand and not be able to use it for 3 days or have to take steroids. The fist 3 months are a lot of visits, after that 1 time per month for 2 years. I have NO regrets. I am much more relaxed around the bees now. There is a co pay, but to me, it has been worth the cost.

I have research to support desensitization for non lethal allergies. I also have research that supports less than 1 % of population is actually allergic, but Mike has a point, that in beekeeper families, where the family is exposed to venom or dust on your clothes, that can increase. I encourage my husband to help me sometimes and get stung a few times a season at least and he is fine with that. I get stung all the time now as well, and with very little problem- but I only get stung 1-2 times at a pop. I think if I got lots of stings at one time it would be problematic, and I might need the Epi Pen or a hospital, so I wear gloves and protective gear all the time. That also keeps me very relaxed. Hot and sweaty, but relaxed with the bees. I think its worth it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I have research to support desensitization for non lethal allergies. I also have research that supports less than 1 % of population is actually allergic, but Mike has a point, that in beekeeper families, where the family is exposed to venom or dust on your clothes, that can increase. I encourage my husband to help me sometimes and get stung a few times a season at least and he is fine with that. I get stung all the time now as well, and with very little problem.
Wouldn't exposure to residual venom on clothes also have a desensitizing effect?
 

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A person can develop severe allergies to almost anything.

I encountered a woman who would have an anaphylactic reaction to ****roach exoskeletons. She had studied ****roaches for years, then developed the allergy.

Developing a severe allergy to bee stings would be no more likely I think than developing such an allergy to any number of other things.

If you feel better carrying an EpiPen or equivalent, good (if you can get one). On the other hand, few people carry EpiPens because they go to restuarants, yet severe allergies to shellfish and peanuts and other nuts and strawberries and any number of other foods are at least as common as severe allergies to bee stings.
 

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Wouldn't exposure to residual venom on clothes also have a desensitizing effect?
From what I have read, it is the opposite that happens, and they risk developing the anaphylactic reaction. I would think though, that this would require a lot of exposure, but I really do not know.
 
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