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Author Topic: Developed an Allergy... What Would You Do?  (Read 3529 times)
charlescfry
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« on: September 01, 2008, 08:04:36 PM »

OK, it figures. I have kept bees off and on for about 6 years, and this year my hives are doing great. Problem is, I noticed (and tried to ignore) an increasingly sever reaction to the occassional sting. Then a few weeks ago I opened a hive on a wet, over-cast day (dumb, I know) and took about 6 or 7 immediate stings. Next thing I know... I am in the emergency room. Bad reaction, doc says it will be worse next time. Good thing my son was with me or I would have been in a bad way.

So... what would you do? The doc says to find a new hobby... I don't want to give it up, but being an ER patient is not to smart either. Thoughts, comments, or experiences? Thanks.
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Charles Fry
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Fry Farms, Ohio, USA
mtman1849
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« Reply #1 on: September 01, 2008, 08:14:21 PM »

I too have reaction that put me in the hospital, but I haven't given up beekeeping,  I now have an epi-pen and I keep benedryll on hand.
The importantant thing you have to remember now is to were you PPE as we in the fire service call it Personal Protective Equipment,  I would fight fire in my underwear and I won't go into a hive with out my bee suit.  At a minium I wear a long sleave shirt just to be around the hives and if I am going to open one even for a peek I have everything on.   And if I were to get stung I would wait and see what my reaction was and it will only take a minute if it is like it was the first time, if reaction starts epi-pen followed by two benedryll.  they say after auto injection seek medical attention but I would still wait and see that is me personally, I know other people that are allergic to stings and they say they usally are ok after epi-pen. 
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #2 on: September 01, 2008, 09:27:44 PM »

Whether or not you give up beekeeping, you can, and should, be desensitized.  Once you have, you may as well not give it up.  I've known beekeepers who were and they have not regretted it.  The problem is you may get stung again even if you don't have bees.
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Michael Bush
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mlewis48
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« Reply #3 on: September 01, 2008, 09:45:00 PM »

 My brother and partner in our beekeeping business had developed a reaction to stings. At first, I thought that this would be the end of it but I picked up his slack with taking care of the hives and let him do the extracting and bottling. I could not stand still and watch that. He is starting to come back into the yards with me but I make sure that there is a Eppi-pen in the truck. I live to the East of you, If you need any help with your hives let me know, would be glad to help.
                                                    Good luck,
                                                     Marc
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Kimbrell
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« Reply #4 on: September 02, 2008, 11:45:57 AM »

I, too, have developed a severe reaction to honey bee stings.  The last stings required an injection with an epi pen and a fast trip to the ER.  I was also told to give up beekeeping.  However I went to an allergist and was told that with desensitization injections I will be able to work my bees again in about six months.  I will have to keep having injections every six weeks indefinitely to maintain my desensitized levels because of working around bees.  It seems like a small price to pay for continuing a hobby I love.  Also I am fortunate enough to have a friend who comes out to work my hives until I am able to do it myself.  I start my injections next week.  Wish me luck!
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CVBees
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« Reply #5 on: September 02, 2008, 12:57:26 PM »

I, too, have developed a severe reaction to honey bee stings............ I start my injections next week.  Wish me luck!

As we say at work that is "HARD CORE" I am still learning and collecting my gear getting ready for spring.  I have been stung many times over the years non-beekeeping.  I have been visiting with different beek's both at my parents house and here in PA and I don't have a problem except with Italians.   THOSE suckers burn like the dickens.  I don't know why the sting is so different but I guess the species difference is enough for my body.  My hand got hit twice just below my pinky and that side of my hand swelled up for 3 days.   Just a local reaction.  I will stick with Carnies.

Good luck with the shots you are inspiration. Cool
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bmacior
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« Reply #6 on: September 02, 2008, 02:38:18 PM »

I, too, also ended up in the ER with my latest (of 2) stings (both my fault).  Came home with an epi-pen.  It's a hassle to get fully suited in the hot weather,  but I"m not ready to give up beekeeping yet.  And, acutally I'm getting more hives.



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mtman1849
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« Reply #7 on: September 02, 2008, 02:40:21 PM »

what does it cost to be desensitized
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ronbert
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« Reply #8 on: September 02, 2008, 04:51:15 PM »

I pay $45 per shot. My insurance pays all but $2.50.
I started off at a shot three times a week (M-W-F) for 2 Months
then M-W for 2 Months
then once a week for 2 months.
As long as I am a Beek it's once a month for the rest of my life.
The venom strength is increased over the 6 months until it is full strength.
If I go longer than 6 weeks then it is a shot a week for 4 weeks to build back
up to full strength. Also you have to remain in the waiting area for 1 hour after
a shot. I have had 2 reactions in the office.
I have been stung since and have had no reaction (just slight swelling and itching).
I hope this helps.
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charlescfry
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« Reply #9 on: September 10, 2008, 04:47:22 PM »

thanks for the advice. i will see an allergist about the desensitizing routine. it will give me something to do over the winter when the farming is slow!   grin
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Charles Fry
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #10 on: September 10, 2008, 06:54:08 PM »

It seems to me once you're up to the full strength once a month a bee sting would do the job...
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Michael Bush
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MrILoveTheAnts
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« Reply #11 on: September 10, 2008, 07:30:38 PM »

I don't mean to be a downer but can you really be desensitized if your immune system just isn't what it used to be? Desensitizing implies they'll be injecting venom into you, how is that any different from being stung? Is it a different process and how long does it last?
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JP
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« Reply #12 on: September 10, 2008, 09:57:16 PM »

I don't mean to be a downer but can you really be desensitized if your immune system just isn't what it used to be? Desensitizing implies they'll be injecting venom into you, how is that any different from being stung? Is it a different process and how long does it last?


Think of it kinda sorta like a vaccine, your body develops somewhat of an immunity as it adjusts to having bee venom in the system.

I have never had a severe allergic reaction but my body has built resistance to the point that bee stings don't do much to me any longer, because I get stung often.


...JP
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SgtMaj
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« Reply #13 on: September 11, 2008, 12:47:47 AM »

I too have reaction that put me in the hospital, but I haven't given up beekeeping,  I now have an epi-pen and I keep benedryll on hand.
The importantant thing you have to remember now is to were you PPE as we in the fire service call it Personal Protective Equipment,  I would fight fire in my underwear and I won't go into a hive with out my bee suit.  At a minium I wear a long sleave shirt just to be around the hives and if I am going to open one even for a peek I have everything on.   And if I were to get stung I would wait and see what my reaction was and it will only take a minute if it is like it was the first time, if reaction starts epi-pen followed by two benedryll.  they say after auto injection seek medical attention but I would still wait and see that is me personally, I know other people that are allergic to stings and they say they usally are ok after epi-pen. 

Why not take the benedryl before heading out to the hives?  With the cheap off-brands out, I was able to pick up a 200 pill bottle of the stuff for $5 when I got into the poison ivy really bad.  Surely that's cheaper than an epi-pen replacement.
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JP
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« Reply #14 on: September 11, 2008, 06:16:06 AM »

I too have reaction that put me in the hospital, but I haven't given up beekeeping,  I now have an epi-pen and I keep benedryll on hand.
The importantant thing you have to remember now is to were you PPE as we in the fire service call it Personal Protective Equipment,  I would fight fire in my underwear and I won't go into a hive with out my bee suit.  At a minium I wear a long sleave shirt just to be around the hives and if I am going to open one even for a peek I have everything on.   And if I were to get stung I would wait and see what my reaction was and it will only take a minute if it is like it was the first time, if reaction starts epi-pen followed by two benedryll.  they say after auto injection seek medical attention but I would still wait and see that is me personally, I know other people that are allergic to stings and they say they usally are ok after epi-pen. 

Why not take the benedryl before heading out to the hives?  With the cheap off-brands out, I was able to pick up a 200 pill bottle of the stuff for $5 when I got into the poison ivy really bad.  Surely that's cheaper than an epi-pen replacement.

Sarge, I'm pretty sure there are people on the forums that do that same thing, pretty sure I've heard them mention that in another thread somewhere on here.


...JP
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ronbert
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« Reply #15 on: September 11, 2008, 02:28:29 PM »

MB

<It seems to me once you're up to the full strength once a month a bee sting would do the job...<

When I discussed this with the DR., he started talking about IGE levels and I decided to do it his way.
It appears "full strength" is a more than one bee sting.

ron
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Sean Kelly
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« Reply #16 on: September 11, 2008, 03:04:40 PM »

I don't think you will need to give it up either way.  If you're careful, suit up, wear gloves, you shouldn't have any problems.  I've had my bees now for 2 years and have only been stung 3 times.  The first one I wasn't wearing any protection, the second was sitting in a lawn chair after installing new packaged bees (totally random), and the third was in the armpit while wearing shorts, t-shirt, and just my vale.  Everytime I've worn my full suit, I've never had any issue.  I'm not allergic, but I don't like stings so I suit up every time now.  Just my 2 cents.  smiley

Sean Kelly
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salty
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« Reply #17 on: September 13, 2008, 12:30:46 PM »

The last time I was stung and I had a mild reaction with itching on the palm of my hands and under my arms.

I was wondering, do you need to have  a prescription to get an epi pen or is it something you can just purhcase, if so where and how much?
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JP
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« Reply #18 on: September 13, 2008, 03:54:17 PM »

The last time I was stung and I had a mild reaction with itching on the palm of my hands and under my arms.

I was wondering, do you need to have  a prescription to get an epi pen or is it something you can just purhcase, if so where and how much?

Your doctor needs to prescribe it, most people get two in case one shot doesn't do the trick.

Others will chime in as to how much, and where, I believe any drugstore w/ prescription.


...JP
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SgtMaj
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« Reply #19 on: September 13, 2008, 10:30:11 PM »

Your doctor needs to prescribe it, most people get two in case one shot doesn't do the trick.

One will definately do the trick, but they only last for 20 minutes, so if you live 30 minutes from the nearest hospital, a person would need two shots, one immediately, and one 20 minutes later to make it to the hospital.

The epi-pen doesn't stop the allergic reaction, it just stops the anaphalactic shock.  For that, nothing beats benedryl.  This is a case I think where an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure... in other words, take a couple of benedryl tablets before working the hives, and you may not need to use the epi-pen even if you do get stung.  With the generic benedryl tablets going for around $5 for 200 tablets... it's only like ten cents each time you go work the hives.
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