First time ever bad reaction to bee sting

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by milapostol, Jul 24, 2011.

  1. milapostol

    milapostol New Member

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    I got stung last Sunday on the back of the head. Because I can't see the back of my head, I wasn't able to quickly scrape the stinger out; I had to go to my neighbor to get him to help me.

    About ten minutes later, I started to feel a strange sensation around my mouth and eyes. Being in denial, I went about doing stuff until I started to feel a prickly sensation on my neck. I went to the mirror and saw that hives were forming all over! My arms, back, chest, legs, and even in my ears.

    We went and got Benadryl. I ended up sleeping the afternoon away. All the hives were gone by the next morning.

    This was my 5th sting in the last few months, all the others were through cloth, and they were on my arms and one to the chest. Why do you think this happened now? We've been keeping bees since 2008.

    I am planning to get an epi-pen. This incident sort of scared me.
     
  2. Noronajo

    Noronajo New Member

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    We are relatively new beekeepers- installed 2 the first week in April. Before we got our bees, we were trying to get some experience by observing our neighbors hives which were just coming out of their first full year. The first time he opened his hives, the bees were very combative and making swarm preparations. I got stung over 30 times- mostly through clothing- no big deal. A few days later, while helping capture a swarm from the same hive, I got stung on the chin. Before I got to my house across the street my chin felt like I was transforming into Jay Leno. Swelling of my face and neck and then huge splotchy hives sent me to Urgent Care. No airway constriction but I got a shot and prednisone pills. Took several days to return to normal. I have been stung many times over my 60 years with no reaction so why now? I have no clue but I got an Epi-Pen just in case. I got a sting last week on the back of my arm and it swelled into a feverish knot that lasted several days but no hives. The Epi-pen is an emergency measure but I feel better knowing it's there if I need it.
     

  3. barry42001

    barry42001 New Member

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    milapostol , what your describing are fairly classical allergic symptoms of a alleragic reaction, of moderate reaction, had you had the tightening of the chest and breathing difficulty would be raising alarm. Noronajo, you too are describinmg an allergic reaction of as lessor degree, neither can be ignored, as the body may not ber able to generate enough of it's own antigen to immediately help. Atripien is the solution for most ( epi pen ), is the solution, but know that you may also be allergic to atripien most are not. Just something to think about.
    Barry
     
  4. Zulu

    Zulu Member

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    While i am new, i have had one bad reaction on back on my hand. Plus plenty of other stings without issue

    A friend is an EMT, and he says Benadryl PLUS Zantac.

    Zantac is also an antihistamine , a type 2

    If you have any reaction , taking both will fight the poison and keep you stable. If any form of breathing issue , call 911 immediately. Swelling and pain etc is quite normal and every bee sting can be different, obviously, the more poison the bigger the reaction.

    Lastly, i found a sting neutraliser , developed by the inventor of Benadryl, and have used it the last 4 times I was stung and it really does work, the pain dissapears within 2-5 min and no swelling, other than the mosquitoe bite type bump later in the day. Of course you will ask where i got it and i cannot remember , but will look it up.
     
  5. G3farms

    G3farms New Member

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    Getting stung is not pleasant and does hurt sometimes. I use to swell something fierce, one sting to the hand and my whole hand up to the elbow would double in size and itch for days. I do not swell like that any more but the itching still dives me nuts sometimes. I can feel the venom running through my veins for s short distance from the sting also. Seems to me the hotter I am and the more excited I get the worse it is.

    I have used the rub on Benadryl and find it works pretty good also.
     
  6. Eddy Honey

    Eddy Honey New Member

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    My wife was of all things, mowing the grass near the hives. She stopped the mower to move the hose and took a sting to the back of the hand. This was yesterday. her hand looks like an oven mit now. She's keeping ice on it and says this is normal for her all will be well in a few days.

    I've been stung in various places and all I get is 10-15 seconds of pain then a little bump. I took a sting from a wasp 2 weeks ago on the leg and that was far worse pain that lasted most of the day but just a bump to show for it.
    I wonder if skin type plays a role? I'm a very tan skinned Italian and she is very fair skinnned.
     
  7. rast

    rast New Member

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    Also note, there is an expiration date on epi pens and throwing it in your truck glove compartment is not recommended storage temp.
    Stings on the back of the head, I quit wearing baseball caps around my bees. Seems as though that half moon area in the back above the strap was a target for em.
    Even someone like IDDEE can develop a bad reaction to venom after years of stings. The amount of "chemicals" produced by ones body changes through the years (testosterone comes to mind :( :mrgreen:) . It can also be a temporary thing.
     
  8. G3farms

    G3farms New Member

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    I know that is right, just wonder what that looks like to them?
     
  9. rast

    rast New Member

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    A bulls eye!
     
  10. brooksbeefarm

    brooksbeefarm New Member

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    Wasp stings don't bother me as much as a honey bee? If stung on the back of my hand, it will swell and itch so i wear gloves. Was working bees with a new club member a few years ago and got stung on the arms several times and i would scrape the stinger out with my hive tool. He ask, doesn't that hurt? and i said, yes it does, he said why didn't you yell, and i ask him if it would do any good? he laughed and said well i guess not. :lol: People can say that stings don't hurt,but if they don't how did they know they got stung :confused: Jack.
     
  11. gunsmith

    gunsmith New Member

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    Whew! I thought I was the only weird person with different reactions to stings. Today I opened up both my hives, first inspection in 2 weeks. The first is doing really slow. The second hive, however, boiled over as soon as I took off the telescoping cover(after a couple puffs of smoke through the entrance board and under the top cover). I guess I got overconfident, because I was only wearing a jacket/veil combination and over the elbow ventilated gloves, instead of the full suit that I usually wear. I got 3 pops on my left leg, through my Wrangler jeans. 3 different reactions-1 slightly inflamed and itching, the 2nd much less so, and the third-I remember getting stung, though I can't find the sight now. One of my girls was smarter then I gave her credit for-she followed me back to my work bench, waited for me to strip my gloves off, and popped me on the top of my right thumb. Swelled up, slightly painful, but no redness. 4 stings, and 4 different reactions? Is this normal, or am I a candidate for Iddees book of world records?
     
  12. Hobie

    Hobie New Member

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    It must be completely individual - bot the stinger and the stingee. Honeybee stings hurt me for an instant, then swell up moderately and itch like mad for 5 days. Last week I got nailed by a yellow jacket. It hurt for several minutes... me walking around going "Oh!, Ow! That smarts! Oh, geez!" or something like that :D . My knee swelled up so that I could barely wear pants, but after a day, was gone.

    For what it's worth, I have read that if you immediately chew up a plantain leaf (of which my not-so-picture-perfect yard has plenty) and put the glop on the sting site, it helps draw the venom. I can't prove it, but it does seem to help for me. Deer-fly bites, too.
     
  13. milapostol

    milapostol New Member

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    All very interesting answers, thank you.

    Zulu, yes, I was going to ask you about that sting neutralizer. How did you know?

    Barry, thanks for the warning about allergic reactions to the epi-pen too. I'll be aware.

    Yeah, I just thought my reactions to stings were getting milder as the other stings caused me hardly any problems. I'm just worried about next time and if and how my reaction will be different, and if it will be more severe.

    I'm just going to be more careful (veil) in the garden from now on.
     
  14. Mama Beek

    Mama Beek New Member

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    earlier this year I got a sting on the hand at the base of my thumb. For several days it continued to swell and after nearly a week of increasingly worse symptoms daily I ended up in the ER and was told to find an allergist, to never EVER be outside anywhere without my epi-pen, and was given several steroid shots plus oral steroids for 2 weeks. Turns out it's very possible to have a delayed reaction to a sting...I believe the Dr. said for up to 14 days after the sting happened??

    I haven't been stung since then, but since then I am not out in the bee yard without a veil AND gloves. I also make sure that someone else is with me AND knows how to use the epi-pen just in case. We keep a homeopathic remedy on hand as well...it's called Apis Mellifica costs about $6 and has helped us more with stings than benedryl ever did.

    I think it's like Hobie said...every sting is different both on the giving and receiving end. I'll also second what she said about plantain....in fact the kids and I have become so convinced about the help that plant gives that we routinely run some through the food processor and freeze in ice cube trays for stings of any kind or bug bites, burns and rashes!

    Gunsmith, I have had similar reactions....and from what the Drs tell me that is normal. It has to do with the proximity to larger blood vessels and nerves as well as the amount of venom injected with the sting (at least that's what they told me).

    I'm interested in the sting neutralizer that Zulu mentioned...never heard of it, but I'm curious. We were listening to a Dr talk about venom extractors....think the old snake bite kits....which peaked my curiosity about whether or not that would help at all too. Someone else (an old granny type lady back home) told me to dab ammonia on the sting with a q-tip and that will neutralize the venom...haven't tried it, but I will if I get a chance to and remember the tip.

    I hope you don't have any more bad reactions, with me it seemed like it took quite awhile for my body to deal with the sting and get back to normal.
     
  15. pturley

    pturley New Member

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    Don't chew it, just mash it up well between your fingers. It works for all sorts of insect bites/stings. Another name for the plant is "Shepherd's Balm".

    Sincerely,
    Paul E. Turley

    EDIT: I haven't needed to use it for a bee sting yet (knock on wood).
     
  16. Zulu

    Zulu Member

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    Went back to my orders........

    http://www.BeeStingCure.com/. Is where i got it and quite a lot written about it, it really did work for me , used it twice so far, and both times within minutes had relief.
     
  17. efmesch

    efmesch Active Member

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    I'll risk repeating some of the things already said by others, but hopefully, some of what I say will be new info.
    One NEVER has an allergic reaction to a first sting. In alergies, first the body has to learn about a "strange" protein and then, for some unknown reason, a later exposure to the same protein (allergen) can cause an allergic reaction. This could be on the second sting or on the 2,000th sting. Allergies are far from fully understood. The body over-reacts in trying to combat the strange protein and can do itself in.
    There is a big difference between a "normal", "severe" and an anaphylactic reaction.
    A normal sting can be negligeable, mild or severe, depending on the bee, how long the stinger stays in and where the sting hits (the head and face are particularly sensitive for most people). But even the most severe reaction (large swelling, long lasting, severe itching) are not really dangerous. Don't get overly concerned about them.
    The real allergic reaction is one like in several of the descriptions given above: hives, (particularly on the chest and back) swelling of distant body parts, difficulties breathing. Allergic reactions require immediate attention and medical care, as mentioned. Don't be a "wise guy" and think it is nothing if you have ever had an allergic reaction. There seems to be a genetic propensity for bee venom allergy.
    While I have never had an allergic reaction to a sting, my brother, two of my sons and my daughter have had such reactions. They all received emergency medical care, followed by a desensitization program that lasted two years.
    Desensitization involved getting weekly, and then twice-weekly injections of gradually increasing concentrates of bee venom, until they showed a normal response to the normal level of a full-fledged sting. They have been stung since then and have had normal reactions.
    So a bee keeper who reacts seriously need not panic away from bees. Grin and Bear it.
    But if you react allergically--don't neglect taking the proper steps: emeergency medical treatment api-pen and desensitization. All is not lost.
     
  18. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    :goodpost:

    I would add to that, most children who have a full fledged reaction never have another once grown. My son had one at age 14. The doctors said very, very little chance of him ever having another after adulthood. He is 40 now and has been stung several times post 25, with no reaction.
     
  19. rast

    rast New Member

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    IDDEE's input was very interesting to me. When I was about 10 or less a bearding cluster of bees fell from the gable peak of my Grannie's house and hit me square on the back of my head, down my shirt and into my pants. When my Aunt caught me, stripped me and got in the house with me, Granny pulled the stingers and swathed the stings with who knows what, could have been her chaw bacca spit. Point is my reactions are mild. Some , but not all itch for a few hours, some swelling depending on where, got popped right under the eye a few times, swelled some but didn't close the eye. Maybe what IDDEE's doc said is why.
     
  20. 2kooldad

    2kooldad New Member

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    ok....i know id use the pen IF I HAD TO...but mercy have you ever seen how hard that thing hits you an the harpoon they put in it...me an another guy took an out of date one and unleashed it into a 1/2'' thick survey stake....duuuude....that thing made me skeered...it went almost all the way through the wood and whatever was inside it was leaking out the other side....now im not all that thrillled with needles but they dont scare me....gulp....id have ta be at deaths doorstep to jab that thing in my leg...an careful ya dont sit on a wooden bench an do it....youd staple your leg to the bench then what ya gonna do :/