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Sowannabee

A year in and loving it, but it seems Ive developed an allergy :(

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A couple of nights back i got a sting on my toe, which resulted in a rather different reaction that I have experienced before. I instantly took an antihistamine but within minutes I developed itchy hands and hives spread all over my torso, then to my limbs turning red by the time we got to the emergency doctors. I was awaiting other symptoms (after reading what can happen) and developed a very slight wheeze as we arrived. They observed me, but nothing more happened and I was sent home. I have had quite a few stings (maybe 7-9) in the year (bad to admit, but Im loved checking on them) and i have had some large local reactions. Now Im about to make a doctors follow up appointment and go from there. Im relieved Im ok, but gutted and grieving for finding a passion that I love so much -and maybe have to give up! Anyone else in my situation or advise? What decision was made do they still keep bees and do desensitisation etc?

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Bare foot beekeeper?😊

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Ummm I wasn't officially beekeeping, just wandering (earthing lol) via the hive from a kind-of distance :/

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I wonder if you stepped on a dead bee? I have heard of that before.

I think you have had a bad reaction but it does seem it stopped short of requiring Adrenalin to save you.

Certainly talk to your Doc an see what comes of it. 

An Epipen sounds a must or perhaps your Doc can fix you up with some Adrenalin and a syringe if your up for that. Don't know if I would cope with a syringe! A short needle would help but having to fill it while going down hill is a worry.

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I think it was a wet rained on bee washed into the grass from a downpour not far from the hive. I thought I read somewhere that if you are a registered beekeeper you get 2 Epipens for the price of one, but I cant find the article. It seems there are no allergic beekeepers on this site :( Maybe its a sign dammit!

 

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7 to 9 stings in a year . 

I wouldn’t be embarrassed about that . 

 

With the right hive with the wrong  temperament , I can have more than that seconds after cracking the lid . 

 

On a serious note though , I’ve not heard of the two for one epipen deal . 

 

Sting reactions can and are different with every sting . You may not react again , or it may try and kill you .

 

Youll need to find a sensible solution to your problem , because as you know , keeping bees will give you more stings than not keeping bees .  

 

Sorry to hear of of your troubles  

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I've had reactions like that or a little worse. I started taking a lot of care with gloves and suits, so as to never get stung again. I help a commercial every season with a day or two of his harvests and it can be pretty fully on at times. Interestingly, in the last season all my reactions have reduced so I'm no longer on the scale and I only accidentally found out because I don't get stung as a result of my cautious approach. So much so, that with no reactions, I don't worry about stings so much. There is no question my reactions were going up the scale of severity and it was worrying. Some have died from this afterall. Now I'm not on the 'scale' at all. So it all seems pretty random. My advice is to make sure you don't get stung at all in the short term. I haven't ever heard of any epi pen deals, (and then they both expire at the same time and you get to throwaway twice as much?). But I have heard you can learn to use a proper injection/needle for a fraction of the cost. 

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Thanks Chris, That sounds pretty promising on your part. Maybe Ive had too many sings to soon and things could even out. Im definitely going to be careful and will check with my doc. My 2 hives are here at home, might have to look at repositioning  on the neighbours farm. Meanwhile Im due a proper inspection of the big hive. I might see if any beekeepers would be keen if I paid them to check in the interim. ? :)

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We have a first year in our group who got a sting under his nose, and landed up looking like elephant man three hours later, so inner city jafaland medical centre fired off an epipen, and sent him to A & E who said that if they had seen him first, would not have given him one. Fortunately the GP in his family has advised him to take a non-drowsy anti-histamine before he works his hives to lower the risk, so that may be another way of helping dealing with this.

I find sometimes I get far more reaction than others, and think that the nectar source may have an influence, but not a shred of evidence.

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Swelling unless it affects breathing is uncomfortable but not serious. Anything involving a rash is pretty dodgy.. Why people become allergic is only somewhat understood but as a general rule you tend to become either better or worse with time. If it was me I would probably wait a couple of weeks for things to settle down and then deliberately sting myself with an EpiPen handy and  possibly parked outside a and e. Even if you decide to give up beekeeping you really need to know how you're going to react next time you get a sting. One of my sons is seriously allergic and he seems to be some sort of bee magnet. We were all swimming in the middle of a river once when a bee floated down the river and stung him.

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A week back I was a bit down and out after a long week of alcohol abuse every night for 6 nights straight, had bad heartburn on the way to shifting a site out, I forgot to veil up nek minit stung on the Adams apple. On the way down to the truck on the side by side I started getting tingling lips and noticed my stung thumb was feeling a bit strange.

Anyway I believe it's got a lot to do with the ammune system, I was at my lowest and noticed straight away, hopefully I'm all good, havent had a reaction since. 

1 hour ago, john berry said:

Swelling unless it affects breathing is uncomfortable but not serious. Anything involving a rash is pretty dodgy.. Why people become allergic is only somewhat understood but as a general rule you tend to become either better or worse with time. If it was me I would probably wait a couple of weeks for things to settle down and then deliberately sting myself with an EpiPen handy and  possibly parked outside a and e. Even if you decide to give up beekeeping you really need to know how you're going to react next time you get a sting. One of my sons is seriously allergic and he seems to be some sort of bee magnet. We were all swimming in the middle of a river once when a bee floated down the river and stung him.

Some people attract things, I seen my brother get randomly attacked by bumble bees a few times, and out of nowhere 

I thought he might be releasing the wrong pheromone lol

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Those systemic reactions can be very serious. I had a systemic reaction a few years back, from multiple stings from very pissed off bees over spilt honey. I got the rash over the body (mostly groin and armpits) and a very different kind of swelling than usual - the GP took it very seriously, I ended up taking an amulance to hospital (I thought I could drive, DRs disagreed).

 

Anyway I ended up going through a desensitisation program. If you live in Auckland or Wellington this might be an option for you - a bit rough if you live outside the major cities as you have to do it at a hospital. You have 2 days of being give increasingly large doses of bee venom, and being carefully monitored. And then you get a followup jab at your GP once a month for the next 3 years.

 

I only ever got the one systemic reaction and it was from lots of stings so I'm not necessarily a good example. But the stings I've had since have always been "normal" - I still get swelling and itching, but it's local only so far.

 

But whatever you do, make damn sure you've got an epipen handy. As John Berry said, these things tend to get better or worse over time. If it's worse, it can be much worse.

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So do these medical jabs hurt ??

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2 minutes ago, yesbut said:

So do these medical jabs hurt ??

No. They get a bit warm and feel like a bee sting, but it's in the upper arm so there aren't many nerve endings.

 

Apparantly each jab had the equivalent of "one sting" worth of venom, but when I asked the immunologist why I couldn't just grab a bee out of the hive and sting myself instead of all the hassle, he said the standardised amount was important for the process. The amount of venom you get from a sting varies hugely, depending on type of bee (guard/worker etc.) and time of year and probably other factors.

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I know how you feel! I’ve been stung lots of times, always my fault, swells a bit but fine... until the last one.  A bee stung me on the ear lobe when I was walking past one of the hives at home.  30 minutes later my hands and feet got crazy itchy.  I took an anti histamine, no better. I started monitoring my blood pressure on my home monitor, and it kept dropping until it was very low and I started sweating and getting agitated!  I took two prednisone tablets, which I had in my little emergency bee sting kit I keep at home,  sent a couple of sos texts just in case and almost drove to gp office, but after I drank heaps of water and paced trying to up my bp, it started improving.

 

the gp and I agree it was an anaphylactic reaction - can affect respiratory and or cardio system.  I think being it was also behind my ear, meaning it was close to the brain (probably irrelevant) and I couldn’t get it out easy so got a full dose of venom maybe it was worse than usual.  I’m hoping that anyway!

 

so I now have an epi pen on hand.  I have been in the hives since, but in full protective gear, esp gloves, good weather, and only on days my gp is working.  The hospital is 40-50 min away.  I haven’t been stung yet so it will be interesting to see what happens when I do.

 

As far as cost of an epipen, I got mine online from allergy pharmacy, it was a lot cheaper than local pharmacy and was not old (they expire after 12 months).  My GP told me you need to buy the epipen, but if you use it, can claim the cost of it on acc.  I would also imagine that if you are commercial, it would be claimable against tax?   I hope that helps, and it seems important that any people have access, or know someone close by that has an epipen as it seems anaphylaxis can occur any time!  I think I was lucky it wasn’t worse!

 

hope that helps in some way.

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I have been keeping bees for 7 years and I realised I was allergic within the first year.  Each reaction being worse that the last and the last (3rd sting) very similar to  yours.  I have an epi pen which I bought. I am extremely careful to not get stung.  It has not made me give up keeping bees.  The sting I got that had the worse reaction, the last sting was actually from a bee on my clothes line, so bees are everywhere.  

Edited by Alexina
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Thank you...Big question...Can anyone recommend the most stingless suit ever? Im keen to epipen up and take care , as well as look at desensitisation :)

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Suggest you read this nzbees forum topic and all the posts included.  You need to make an informed decision.

 

 

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34 minutes ago, Sowannabee said:

Thank you...Big question...Can anyone recommend the most stingless suit ever? Im keen to epipen up and take care , as well as look at desensitisation :)

Just use your normal bee suit , probably made by Deane , but wear thick clothes and long sleeves underneath . 

Also , have a strain of bees that are calm and don’t react to you being in the hive . You can’t afford to have bees that are anything but calm 

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Yes, a full bee suit is prob a good idea, but if you go wearing heaps of thick clothes under a full suit (veil with hood), with gloves one has to be very wary of dehydration.  There is no place for your body to vent.  And believe you me dehydration and heat exhaustion, on the Canterbury Plains in Jan/Feb this happens fairly quickly. 

 

Been there, done the whole desensitisation programme, and am still here. 

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27 minutes ago, M4tt said:

Just use your normal bee suit , probably made by Deane , but wear thick clothes and long sleeves underneath . 

Also , have a strain of bees that are calm and don’t react to you being in the hive . You can’t afford to have bees that are anything but calm 

I agree, I wear long sleeves under my bee  suit and jeans. I have been caught before between the sleeve of my t shirt and where my gloves reach up to.  

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How many hives do you inspect in a day in hot weather in Dunsandel on the Canterbury Plains?

We need to consider all in this discussion = hobbyists, semi commercial, commercial, scientific community

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1 hour ago, Maggie James said:

How many hives do you inspect in a day in hot weather in Dunsandel on the Canterbury Plains?

We need to consider all in this discussion = hobbyists, semi commercial, commercial, scientific community

My advice in this situation is aimed entirely at the beginner beekeeper who has a couple of hives or so 

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seriously, bees are not worth that much aggravation. take up golf or some other hobby and on your way home buy some honey from a local beekeeper.

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Dennis , Desensitisation programmes are . suppose to be very effective. I hear you, i only have 2 hives and i wont take things lightly.  In a way desensitisation might make me more safe than any random person who out of the blue develops an allergy and is knocked for 6..it could happen to any of us.  BYW golf is soooooo boooring ;) 

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