Get Yourself An Epipen.

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Dear all, you need to keep this in context, anaphalyaxis whilst potentially lethal is actually rare. 20 years ago no body had ever heard of it and no one ever panicked if and when they got stung. who like me, (the wrong side of 40) ever had or remembers anyone having a problem after being stung as a child?? suddenly anyone that gets stung suddenly flies into a mad panic, hyperventilates, thinks they can't breath, tell you they can't breath, pulse goes through the roof when in reality they just need to calm down. 95% of the people I see having a suspected anaphyactic reaction are not, and to give them a dose of adrenaline when their body is already running in overdrive with it's own adrenaline kicking in because of the panic is very dangerous and potentially lethal. Real anaphylactic reactions cause blotching of the skin, dangerous drop in blood pressure, massive facial swelling which can close the eyes and more importantly cause the tounge and lips to swell to such an extent that they really cannot breath and as such cannot talk. these people need the adrenaline!!.
another thing about anaphylaxis is that you have to have been exposed to the trigger before and normally lot of times before, so you cannot suffer a reaction on your first time so the "how will i know if I have an allegy" argument should be dismissed.
lastly Rosti is right to consider the risks of giving someone else your epipen, adrenaline is a prescription only medication and unless you are authorized to prescribe it and know the indications and contra-indications for it's use, you could end up in serious trouble if you gave it to someone who then went on to die due to a cardiac problem caused by the adrenaline (the adrenaline in epipens is 10x stronger than the adrenaline given in cardiac arrest situations).
if you need an epipen, you probably already have one prescribed. if you don't have one then you probably don't need one.
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As has been said before it only takes one sting , this has happened time and time again truly.
The incidences of allergy are on the increase. Scientists don't know why although they suspect our being exposed to myriad chemicals the effect of most having never been tested in the combinations we are likely to have absorbed.

As regards the epipen and the symptoms requiring application there of !
Check this video

John Wilkinson
Shrek :) sorry, but it made me smile given my donald duck impression last year after getting stuing on my upper lip. I wear a beenie always when on bees, even mid summer to stop head stings if I can. Your reaction while bad (very) could be for a variety of reasons, the head can take it hard with all the soft tissue but I really think some bee stings are stronger that others.

Still not sure that reaction justifies Epipen?

I was given Hayleve at A&E for my swollen lip and asked about Epipen and the doctor made it 100% that swelling however bad had nothing to do with reasons for using Epipen and I should not worry - he words 'you do not need it'.

re steve115br - good explanation
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I am astonished to read that anaphalyaxis was never heard of 20 years ago.

It is bluntly a false and untrue statement/claim

I was taught of the danger some 23 years ago and there was vials of Adrenalin to hand.

It is rare.

If you test for it surely it then becomes a Catch 22. Test positive and then what? Die?

I check myself every time I am stung for how I am reacting.

As posted here some are suffering nasty reactions.

No more than I would expect from a community of 2000+

However the danger is not to those who are aware and who make the decision to open hives and disturb the bees.

The risk is to the unsuspecting neighbour/member of the general public.

Take care.

OK now I'm seriously wound up! Will make sure I take a phone with me during visits - is it this time of year that makes the stings so venomous. I do hope you get better soon, looks extremely uncomfortable and considering the pain and discomfort my husband suffered with face stings, you have my sympathy.
looks bad, im still waiting for my first 2010 sting lol
I don't think there is any doubt that there is a risk of anaphylactic shock when handling bees. However, each of us has to make an individual risk assessment, primarily because all of us have differing attitudes to the risk.

Where there is previous evidence of potential anaphylaxis then clearly one has to be very careful and if one were to carry on keeping bees, then carrying and knowing how to use an epipen would be mandatory.

My feeling is that otherwise we take normal common sense precautions - suitable clothing, making sure that others know where we are and what we are doing but equally not going over the top in terms of the fear factor. I couldn't find any relevant statistics, but I suspect that the risk of a fatal reaction is probably significantly less than the risk of, say, a serious road accident.
We seem to have a real duck theme going on here :biggrinjester: The first thing my GP and the hospital Quack said was that I needed an Epipen just in case (with no prompting from myself). What is strange is there is no soreness, or inflamation where I was stung. Still can't understand why?
What happened to you is a common local reaction especially when stung in a none too fleshy part of the body, plus getting a full dose ! what happens is , histamine (gravity and all that ) travels until it finds tissue to contain it by swelling .
Anti histamine tablets work best when taken before a sting because they work on the mast cells !.
Calcium tablets are known to reduce swelling .
Usually repeated stinging evoke less and less of this swelling as you build up an immunity to the venom.
Anaphylaxis is a different kettle of fish !

John Wilkinson
Thanks John. That would explain why I don't normally react and why the swelling is no where near where I was stung. Luckily the photos don't show just how bad it is but relieved that it shouldn't stop me going near them again

I believe some soon to be published research will detail a secondary factor. Beekeepers develop allergens (IgE) however a secondary factor, hereditary in nature, is the physiological attributes of your veins/arteries. Some people have them very open, such as athletes and this would make them more susceptible to anaphalaxis, although this helps get the blood to the muscles so inherently makes them good athletes. Of course open (wide? - don't ask me the technical terms) makes their blood pressure drop which is the characteristic of anaphalaxis. Restricted veins/arteries etc, whilst diminishing your chance of anaphalaxsis increses your chance of stroke/heart attack so it's not all good.

The above is a very garbled interpretation of a lecture by a specialist allergy consultant.

That's a cracking reaction Beedons! I had a similar one a few years ago when I was stung on the forehead. In my first year of beekeeping I was stung three times on one hand and my forearm turned into an elephant's leg! (Wore gloves thereafter.) An experienced beekeeper told me he took anti histamine half an hour before he went near his hives, that way it was already in his bloodstream. Aterwards was too late, he said. Anyway, I tried it and I didn't swell up anywhere near as badly the next time I was stung. Still itched like crazy for days though.

It seems that are are alot of different opinions on this topic. Everybody has a different way of thinking. At least it has got people thinking about what might happen and that can only be a good thing. Thanks to you all for your replies.

Gareth(Who will still be keeping his epipen at the ready):D
How many people on this forum have had to use an epipen? (either on themselves or another person)
Might be fun to start a poll, but a couple of facts and figures

according to the US National Safety Council:

Odds Of Dying From lightning 81,949/1
Odds Of Dying From A Bee/Wasp sting 72,494/1

Yes, chances are increased as we are manipulating the bees, but as Polly hives correctly says, more problems come if non beekeepers are nearby.

Put things in prospective, you have more chance of death driving to or from your hives, more chance of death from setting yourself on fire when lighting your smoker, more chance of dyeing from a heart attack when lifting your supers, more chance of dyeing from the radiation from your phone, whilst phoning for an ambulance because your think you are having anaphylactic shock!

In England, mortality rates for anaphylaxis have been reported as up to 0.05 per 100,000 population, or around 10-20 a year. Anaphylactic reactions requiring hospital treatment appear to be increasing, with authorities in England reporting a threefold increase between 1994 and 2004.

But like with Swine flu, deaths always have other undying conditions, and even though symptoms might present as anaphylactic shock, the true cause in over looked due to the obvious “smoking gun” of the insect sting.
After reading the horrible report of one beek on here that got stung and ended up in casualty last week I mentioned it to my dr when i was seeing her about my stupid amount of allergies and intolerances. She said that bee venom is completely different to pollen/cats/wheat etc and providing i have been stung in the past with no reaction (which i have done) then i will be fine and certainly dont need an epipen.
Comments please.......
Make sure you check the 'Use by date'
The drug in an epipen has a limited shelf life.
Depending on how long it has been on the shelf at the chemist,
You could find that by the time you need to use it it is out of date.
Just another thought...often the treatment given to an individual in the early stages of an acute allergic reaction is to administer antihistamine...something like Piriton in the child's syrup form. Often this can be enough to evert the crisis...and it's easier to take.....

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