strange sting reaction

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Mama Beek, Feb 16, 2011.

  1. Mama Beek

    Mama Beek New Member

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    I've been twisting my poor brain every which way to try and figure out how to deal with this and keep going in circles. I got stung on the hand Monday while inspecting a hive with BB, the rest of Monday it was fine... no swelling, very little itching, and it didn't really even hurt.

    Tuesday morning it looked a little puffy, but my nose was swollen and my eyes were too... I wrote it off to "pollen" of some sort and kept on taking benedryl, aleve, and stayed inside. Tuesday evening at church my right hand suddenly ballooned up, my nose and eyes are swollen and runny, and my throat is so raw I can hardly stand it. I started taking benedryl on a schedule and aleve and ibuprofen, plus ice packs, and keeping that hand elevated at all times to stop the THROBBING STABBING PAIN! No sleep Tuesday night, just a lot of pain and itching, and feeling shooting pains in my arm. Finally dozed off sometime after 7:30 this morning.

    Woke up at 9:30 this morning and felt like dirt! Stomach cramps, chills, pain, itching, shooting pains in my arm, along with the most amazing looking swelling I've ever seen on my hand. As the day wore on my entire hand broke out in water filled blisters that HURT if even a breath of air puffs across them :confused: This evening we added awful nausea and muscle cramps to the equation.

    I had some pretty bad reactions to stings as a little kid, but I've never seen a bee sting do this to me! Benedryl and NSAIDS are all that I've been treating with since that usually works so well for us. I'm stumped (or stupid :oops: ) and I can't for the life of me figure out what is different or what I should do for this sting! For the first time since we've had the bees I'm concerned about getting stung.... kinda hoping the girls will play nice from now on :beg:
     
  2. charmd2

    charmd2 New Member

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    Sounds kinda like a staff infection.
     

  3. G3farms

    G3farms New Member

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    WOW!! Mama Beek I sure do hope you get to feeling better and you will be in my prayers and good thoughts to you.

    Sure hope this will not end your beekeeping future.
     
  4. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    our natural defenses against bee sting can change dramatically over time. any number of people have reported being highly allergic to bee stings and then not so long afterwards being totally not allergic. Is this perhaps you first sting of the season?
     
  5. Hobie

    Hobie New Member

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    That is terrible! Please take care of yourself. You may want to consider having an epi-pen on hand, just in case.

    I've heard that spring stings are more potent than later in the year... have no idea if that is true. Or it may be that your body has become un-accustomed to the venom.
     
  6. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    It sounds to me like something besides the bee venom is reacting. It could be something you had on your hand, something the bee had on it, or something airborne. Even an unknown substance in the bee's venom sac.

    I emailed a doctor with a link to here. Hopefully, he will join and post a reply, or email me his opinion on what might have happened.
     
  7. Mama Beek

    Mama Beek New Member

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    Thanks for all the replies y'all. It's still EXTREMELY swollen this morning, I think it's swollen even more over night. My fingers on that hand are icy cold and getting pale above the swelling now.

    The sting is on the back of my hand between the index finger and thumb, right on the fleshy part just before that little flap of skin that "webs" between finger and thumb. I'm swollen terribly from middle knuckle of all my fingers to not quite halfway up my forearm to the point that you can't see any of my joints and when I try to move my fingers or thumb little dimples appear but not much really moves.

    The blisters all feel like fire, and all of it is bright red, like a burn. I think I'll be calling hubby to take me to the walk in clinic in a bit. I just can't believe I've reacted to a sting like this...

    @Charla, I wondered about it being infected but haven't had a fever at all so I sort of back burnered that thought.

    @G3, thanks for the thoughts and prayers!! One bad reaction won't scare me away from those bees though, as soon as I can it's back to work out there... I have BIG plans this year ;)

    @Tecumseh, yes, it is the first sting in quite awhile. I was wondering if that had anything to do with it. It just boggles me that this reaction was so long in onset, usually an allergic reaction is within 24 hours... or at least that's what I was taught a very long time ago.

    @Hobie, I will definitely be getting a prescription for an epi-pen to have on hand! I had wondered if maybe the venom is more potent in the early part of the year too.

    @Iddee, as usual you are making me think... hard. I can't remember what all I was doing around the house before we went out to the bees, and even though lately I've been a nut about washing my hands every so often (the flu will do that to you) it's possible that I had something on them. At least I'm in better shape than the poor bee who did it though!

    Thanks again y'all, I felt silly for posting about this but you guys are awesome. :)
     
  8. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    Here's the doctors reply.

    She is having a delayed large local reaction AND moderately severe
    anaphylaxis to bee stings, also in a delayed-type response. She needs
    to stop all beekeeping immediately and march herself into an allergist's
    office. The next bee sting could kill her. If she really loves bees,
    she can get bee venom immunotherapy (shots) after being tested, and one
    day she can return to beekeeping. Even if she wants to quit beekeeping
    forever her risk of being restung is over 50% and her risk of dying from
    that resting is not insignificant, so she needs to see an allergist
    right away.
     
  9. Mama Beek

    Mama Beek New Member

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    That is really, really, really NOT what I wanted to hear! Hubby is on his way home as of 20 or so minutes ago to take me to the doctor. I'll post again as soon as I get home.

    Thanks Iddee, even though I don't like what the doc told you I really do appreciate you.
     
  10. Charles

    Charles New Member

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    Wow, that's quite a diagnoses. I would sure see an allergist asap, hopefully it was as iddee suggested, something that may have been on your skin or bee and not the venom itself.

    Hope you start feeling better soon!
     
  11. Hobie

    Hobie New Member

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    Whatever you may need, just ask... we're here for you!

    Make sure you weren't also bitten by a spider or something. But I have heard of allergies developing suddenly. Makes no sense. Most important thing is to take care of YOU.
     
  12. Omie

    Omie New Member

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    Oh this is awful- I feel so bad for you!
    But going to the doctor, getting an epipen right away, and then getting tested for allergies is the only thing to do, and quickly too.
    I'm always secretly afraid this is going to happen to me too.
    I hope you feel better rapidly- it sounds very painful.
     
  13. Mama Beek

    Mama Beek New Member

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    Thanks again guys, y'all are great folks and that is what makes this forum stand out above the rest!

    We spent several HOURS in the emergency room. Hubby took one good look, listened to me talk for about half a sentence and said that's where I needed to be. I got several of the biggest steroid shots I've ever seen and multiple doses of antihistamines. By the time we left we could see quite a bit of difference in the swelling on my hand and my face and neck went from being extremely pale with bright red eyes, nose, and lips to almost normal coloring again. The doctor gave me steroids to take at home for the next 15 days, as well as more antihistamines and a prescription for 2 epi-pens that he VERY firmly instructed me to keep on my person "at ALL times" and told me to make sure the kids and hubby know how to administer them as well.

    According to the doc today it is definitely a "severe serum allergic reaction", though he didn't understand what would be the cause of the delay or how it had such a gradual onset. He just said "with God's creatures I've learned that anything is possible". He said that the area that I was stung in is VERY rich in blood supply that runs very close to the skin, and that there are some major nerves in that area as well, so he thought that possibly that played a part in the severity of the reaction. I got the "finger shake" over holding out so long before going in and promised never to do it again.

    He did say that there are therapies that would help avoid this in the future but that I should NOT attempt to do anything that would put me at risk for a sting for the next 2-3 weeks... and after that ONLY with the epi-pen "on your person at ALL times". The hospital will call me in the next few days with the name and number of an allergist in my area as well and I'll follow through with that as best I can.

    I don't expect many folks to understand the why's and reasoning behind it, but I have NO plans to stop being a beekeeper right now. I will be much more careful about them now, and will finally invest in a good bee suit, or at least inspector jacket with a firmly closing veil since the bees love to get into my alexander style veil and crawl around in my hair, nose, and ears while I'm outside. The kids will be doing more without me by their sides now, but after 4 years of practice it's time for them to take some good steps that direction anyway. I may eventually stop altogether... but right now I don't see it.

    Thanks again for all of your kind words, thoughts, and support! Y'all are the greatest! :thumbsup:
     
  14. srvfantexasflood

    srvfantexasflood New Member

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    I'm so glad you were able to see a Dr. and that he was able to help you. I can now understand why a sting on the hand has so much more of an allergic reaction that a sting on the ankle or ear. I think it's great that you are going to follow through and see an allergist.
     
  15. Hobie

    Hobie New Member

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    May I suggest a good pair of gloves? I have some goatskin ones (from Brushy Mtn) that are not overly loose so I can still sort of feel what I am doing. (I only pinch them under frames and get stuck occasionally!) But I scooped a swarm off a tree with them once, and ended up with gloves (not hands) bristling with stingers. I'm not as good as iddee with swarms, obviously! But it was raining at the time - I will blame that. :roll:
     
  16. Omie

    Omie New Member

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    This is all good news. I totally understand about your choice of a plan of action, too. A zippered veil, suit, and good gloves will go a long way in the prevention dept. :)
     
  17. brooksbeefarm

    brooksbeefarm New Member

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    Good news Mama Beek, hang in there. I take alot of stings every year and don't pay much attention to them except to the back of the hands. They will swell up and itch like crazy for two or three days. Like Hobie i bought some goatskin gloves (from add in ABJ,3 pairs for $29.00 :thumbsup: ) they can sting through them but you don't get the full effect.Had a uncle who liked to set in the truck and watch me work bees,he would laugh and slap the dashboard of the truck when i got stung,wouldn't let me in the truck until he looked me over through the window. :roll: Then look me in the eye and say no sense no feeling. :mrgreen: Jack
     
  18. Mama Beek

    Mama Beek New Member

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    Thanks again for your replies! I kept meaning to get back here and post but I really felt pretty yucky until this morning. The swelling has finally gone down enough that my hand looks almost normal... in size, the coloring is still way off though. My face is back to looking like my face too, which still ain't saying much but at least it's not supersized...LOL

    I'm looking at gloves and can't decide. I used to have a pair of the goatskin ones from Brushy Mountain and I liked them but... the leather stretched so badly that after a season they didn't fit me anymore. If I can find the ones that Jack is talking about I'm liable to try them out, I like the price better for sure. I liked the goatskin because the leather was so soft that I didn't lose all sense of touch with them on... and since my poor hubby will likely give birth to kittens if he catches me in the hives without gloves I need some that won't "deaden" the feeling in my fingers.

    I stood outside at our church for a few minutes this afternoon watching bees come and inspect the trees, they are such fantastic little things that my heart almost broke thinking that I would have to be so careful around them now. But then my Pastor came outside and asked me if I was going to put up a swarm trap behind the parsonage this year.... yup, you betcha I am :thumbsup:

    I have no idea how I got so attached to such seemingly insignificant little bugs, but I can't imagine how disconnected from life I would feel if I could have absolutely nothing to do with them at all! Iddee is probably gonna sit there shaking his head at this post... he remembers all too well how afraid I used to be of them :oops:

    I just wanted to be sure to say thanks to all of you for your thoughts and consideration towards me. This took us by surprise and is still a shock to me, but if I gave up and quit everytime life threw me a surprise I wouldn't have my beautiful children either. Thanks for your encouragement guys! :wave:
     
  19. Hobie

    Hobie New Member

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    My goatskin gloves have stretched, too.I'm thinking of trying to get them wet while wearing them and see if they shrink, then "wash" my glove-hands with mineral oil.

    I've also heard that nitrile exam gloves (not latex) are sting resistant, but not sting proof. Pro is that they fit snugly (if you get the right size) and can "feel." Cons are that your hands sweat terribly, and I think the more snug the fit, the more likely a stinger will get through. Some people wear cotton gloves underneath for the sweating.

    There's a big long thread about this on Beesource. Just Google "nitrile gloves bee sting."

    We have some of these for working with epoxy. Maybe I'll try it out this spring.
     
  20. Mama Beek

    Mama Beek New Member

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    I tried doing that with my goatskin gloves Hobie, it didn't help them... if you have better luck let me know what you did so I can try it.

    Thanks for the thought about the other kind of gloves, I'll do some reading about it.