Smallswarm, right, I think our friends have some good points. You experienced a really bad reaction.
I remember once I had a reaction that still to this day makes me wonder. It was gross and I almost feel embarrassed talking about it. But I am gonna tell the tale anyways!!!!
It was my first year of beekeeping (summer before last), a really hot summer day (probably about 28 celsius), that is hot in my eyes. I picked up box because I was going to reverse the brood chambers. I picked it straight up and the frame from the lower box got pulled out because it was stuck to the frame on the box in my arms with burr comb. Some angry bees. I was able to get the stuck frame back in alignment into the bottom box. What a lesson learned, I always twist the box just slightly when I lift one off the other. Lessons learned. Anyways, I did sustain a few stings, one on my face. Right, I didn't have a veil on, lessons learned. Hmmm...How soon we forget, I got a couple of stings on the face two weekends in a row cause I didn't have a veil on. I think that I have learned now.
Anyways back to the story. After sustaining the sting on the uppper lip, suddenly, I became so itchy in the groin area that I thought I was going to go off the deep end. I thought to myself, now that doesn't make sense, I showered this morning, I am not sweating that badly, right!!!! It must be a reaction to the bee sting. I left the apiary without doing anymore work, showered again, got even more itchier. Thought I had best see about getting some Benedryl, like someone told me would work to reduce symptoms. Drove into our town, itching like crazy the whole way, went in and told the pharmacist, itching like crazy standing there, just kind of doing like the "poddy" dance, like little kids do. The pharmacist had empathy and told me that itchiness can be a bummer. Right, bummer!!!! Ha, now that is a play on words.
I got the Benedryl, took 2 caps, I knew that I had only about a 10 minute drive home so I should be OK with any reaction from the pills. Got home, the itching had almost totally subsided within that 10 minute drive. Laid down and slept for a good two hours. Man, that stuff is some powerful drug eh? I now have the non-drowsy, liquid form. So, wear face protection at least when working the bees, don't get stung on the lip, it can have some pretty powerful reaction, and you look really ugly for a day or two. Have a wonderful day, great life, great health. Cindi