Bee allergy

Why do bees sting?

Honey bees and wasps start their activities in spring and with that the number of people stung by them increases. Both honey bees and wasps sting only to defend themselves of their hive. The honeybees sting only when they are interrupted from their flight or someone picks a flower on which a bee rests or gathers pollen. Usually honey bees are attracted by powerful colors and smells. They become aggressive when they enter into contact with the smell of chemical dyes because they cannot stand it.

They always leave their needle in their victim's skin. Moreover, their venom is poisonous and might trigger severe allergic reaction which many people call bee allergy but which in fact is an unusual reaction to bee venom. This also allows people to make the difference between a bee's sting and a sting belonging to another type of insect. Wasps are also attracted by water surfaces and powerful colors and smells. Hornets and wasps do not leave any sign of their action, they leave no stinger.

Common reaction to a bee stings

The majority of people have been at least once stung by a bee or a wasp. The common reaction is for the stung area to turn red and swell a bit. The swelling also hurts but everything goes by in a short period of time. In most cases only the affected area aches. The other parts of the body do not fill de effect of bee venom, unless the person has a bee allergy. In order to ease the pain, you have to apply a cold water compress.

Keep in mind that the different parts of the body have different sensitivity levels. Thus, you cannot compare a stung in your face or head with one in your leg. Be sure that the head will ache more. The eye and lisp area will definitely swell and change your appearance even if you are not allergic to the bee venom. The stings in the eyeballs are extremely painful as well. The nose and the ears are also very sensitive areas. There are people who deliberately let themselves stung by bees, since it is believed that bee venom can cure rheumatism and arthritis.

Allergies to bee stings

Bees on hive The systemic reactions are always caused by a bee allergy. The anaphylactic reactions are caused by the IgE oversensitivity caused by bee venom. Around 0.4% of the world population presents a powerful allergic reaction to the bee sting and its venom. Most people develop their allergy before reaching the age of twenty. The bee sting reactions are very fast (they appear in the first 15 minutes past from the stung moment) and extremely powerful. The bee allergy symptoms include: generalized pruritus, wheezing, nausea rashes, redness, angioedema, abdominal cramps and hypotension.

People suffering from a bee sting allergy might enter into an anaphylactic shock whose outcome can be fatal. The shock might occur in a few minutes. The allergic person might die because of the obstruction of the superior airways or because of very low blood pressure. Fortunately these cases are very rare. However, bear in mind that allergic reaction might occur to people with no previous allergy history.

After a severe systemic reaction to a bee sting 50% of the patients will develop a new reaction in case they are stung again. The risks are higher for elderly people and children. Deaths caused by allergies to bee stings are more frequent among adults although the incidence of systemic reactions is higher among adolescents. The reason is unknown.

What is the cause of bee allergy?

It is not known why certain people develop an allergic reaction to bee venom. However, doctors know several of the elements that lead to the anaphylactic shock. After several stings the human organism produces venom antibodies. After this sensitivity period, a new sting releases into the organism a substance called mediator which is responsible for the allergic reactions. A person can be allergic to bee sting for his/her entire life.

Correct removal of the honeybee stinger

Most people panic when they are stung by a honeybee or a wasp and act really hectic. Most of times they forget to remove the stinger and if they remember to do that, it is always done in the wrong way. If the stinger is not removed correctly, the pain and the swallowing will be bigger than they already are. The bee sting treatment always begins with the correct removal of the bee's weapon.

The first impulse is to use the tweezers in order to get the nasty stinger out. This is a tremendous mistake, since the remaining venom will be drained into the victim's body. The best solution is to gently scrape the stinger. A sewing needle is perfect for this operation. After the stinger is removed, it is advisable to clean the stung area with lukewarm water or some sort of wound disinfectant. Lanolin or Aloe Vera lotions are perfect to ease the pain.

Bee sting treatment

People suffering from bee allergy have to consult an allergist who will probably advise them to start the immunotherapy process. Immunotherapy does not cure bee allergy but it can mild a bit the severe allergic reactions. The specific immunotherapy is not indicated to people who did not have an anaphylactic reaction.

People suffering from bee allergy must always carry around with them antihistamines and an epinephrine injection. An adrenaline injection might save the life of an allergic. It is advisable to have several adrenaline kits at your disposal so as to be safe in any circumstances.

In case of a severe allergic reaction, the bee victim must be taken to the hospital immediately. He/She will receive injections with adrenaline, steroids and antihistamines. Medical monitoring is needed for a certain period of time to be absolutely sure that the patient is out of any danger.

What happens when you are stung by more than just one bee?

I hope they didnt see me Beekeepers are often stung more than once when working in their apiary. Most of them are so accustomed to stings that they are no longer bothered by them. However, even an experienced beekeeper should head for the hospital if he/she is stung by more than twenty bees during a single apiary work session. Even if no allergic reaction appears a medical checkup and some blood test are still needed in order to prevent any dramatic event.

How to avoid getting stung?

People suffering from allergies to bee sting have to follow certain simple rules in order to avoid getting stung. Thus, it is very important to tell friends, family and co-workers about your allergic conditions. It is advisable not to move hectic around a bee or wasp. Just stay still and the insect will go its way. Never touch the insects, since they attack when they are scared or bothered from their routine.

Pay attention when walking barefoot outside. People allergic to bee stings should try to avoid large clothes into which the insect can easily get in. Dark or too colored clothes should also be avoided and the rule is valid for sandals as well. If you are found of gardening but you have a bee allergy, it is better to use gloves and cover your head with a cap when working outside. However, it is advisable for allergic people not to pick flowers and fruits, since it is known that they are the bees' targets. Pay attention to the things you eat and drink while you are outside. Your creamy cake or sweet juice might be extremely appealing to a honeybee or wasp.

In spring and summer is advisable to drive with your windows shut. If an insect enters your car, the wisest thing to do is to pull over and wait for the intruder to fly away. You can use an insecticide but remember that their effect is not an immediate one.

It is not easy to lead the life of a person who has a honey bee allergy. However, if you display a balanced attitude many stings may be avoided. A calm and cool behavior combined with the avoidance of the situations that attract bees can prevent numerous unpleasant incidents.

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