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Infections (e.g. cellulitis) from bee stings (not allergies)

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dc197 

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Hi all
I have been unlucky recently with three bouts of cellulitis (infection of the fatty tissues under the skin) after stings. My foot swelled up to the size of a tree trunk, my face so fat I could not open my eye, and I had a fat finger. In each case I needed antibiotics to kill the infection.

I know that my reactions are not just allergies to the venom because 1) it takes 12+ hours for the infection swelling to start, whereas allergies come up in minutes; 2) it doesn't get infected every time (I even got stung on both ankles and only one foot swelled); and 3) two doctors have diagnosed (not just home diagnosis) as cellulitis; and 4) it doesn't get infected and swell every time I am stung.

I went to see my GP to ask when I suffer so. He fobbed me off.

Does anyone else seem incredibly unlucky with infections (not allergies) from stings? Did you do anything to help not get infected?

Here are two pictures....

Face (note how it spread down my cheek after being stung once on the eyelid):
http:// www . facebook . com/photo.php?pid=4586640&l=8e62f38225&id=516724171

Foot (15 stings on EACH foot):
http:// www . facebook . com/photo.php?pid=4163886&l=5314915d50&id=516724171


Thanks

Daniel
 

kazmcc 

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Oh dear :( They look painful. The purple robe looks painful too :p only kidding. I haven't been stung yet, although one buzzed me really badly today. Thank god for bee suits. She was bouncing off my veil and circling me, naughty bee.

How did they get to you? Was it after when you took your stuff off or did you not have it on? I don't have any advice other than keeping some kind of cream handy in your inspection kit. Maybe a cold pad, or if your bees are at home, get some ice on the site sharpish. There is a doctor on here, he might be able to advise you. He's experienced and knows his stuff.
 

drstitson 

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stings, allergies and infections

as per previoius thread - how you react to a particular sting is dependent upon site and how much venom is injected and how deep.

allergies are fairly rapid, normal reactions may take hours/days to evolve. cellulitis is a different kettle of fish altogether and often needs admisssion and iv antibiotics - i had the latter after a recent horsefly bite at the knee but caught it fast with some augmentin but equally had an almost identically swollen lower leg from a sting to sole of foot which was definitely NOT cellulitis.
 
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drstitson 

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cellulitis pt 2

Having finally managed to view the pics (didn't spot the space before www!) i have to ask who diagnosed cellulitis? someone with specific experience or just an A&E staff grade?
how long after the stings was the foot photo taken? personally that's hardly any reaction for the number of stings (shame i've never photographed mine AFAIK).
The eyelid is a specific spot that swells at slightest insult (i know - i'm prone to 3 monthly chalazia (styes) due to my job) due to the loose skin with little connective tissue support. again not surprised at that degree of swelling for a straightforward sting.

antibiotics may just have appeared to have cleared up the "infection" in the same time the normal swelling would have resolved anyway.
 

drex 

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Fully in accord with Dr S.

Does not look like infection to me either.

I would however be asking myself, what did I do wrong to get stung so much in the first place? Handling problems, protection problems etc? You may like to think about taking an antihistamine, just in case, before you go near the hives, or have some in your suit pocket.

Dr Ex
 

drstitson 

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stings, allergies and infections

stings on the foot are always going to be a problem - you can't get at the buggers quick enough - i could literally feel my one pumping away for a couple of secs with each pump feeling like a little burning flash.
i've also had a couple inside my veil that took a few goes to bat off (leaving me chipmunk-like for a weekend) and one on forearm whilst lifting a full dadant frame - couldn't just drop frame back in so had to let the bee do its thing.

by all means either keep antihistamines with you or even dose beforehand but remember none of them are truly non-drowsy (especially if full of bee venom and unnecessary augmentin!)
 
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Afraid so - I got stung about 8 weeks ago - 6 stings on one foot (my fault). It finally calmed enough to put a proper shoe on this week...4 courses of anti-biotics later. No idea why, as i have had allergies checked and I am not allergic to stings at all. What will be I guess...
 

victor meldrew 

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Putting clearing boards under colonies yesterday I picked up 4/5 stings off one colony (little sods) ,still the weather was abominable ,blowing a hooligan .Job had to be done in spite of the weather ,tempus fluget

John Wilkinson
 
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I have has stings on head, hand, arm and leg.

Leg did nothing.
Head (top) doesnt do much apart from irritate for a few days.
First lot on arm and hand at some time caused most aggro. Swelled up but not really excessive and irritated for few days.

Worst was on the outside of my wrist. Couldnt even see where the sting was. Back of hand swollen and arm up to elbow... I wonder if it makes a difference if the sting is to a muscle or tendon.
Have has one on palm of hand and nothing happened at all, apart from when it healed it left a scar like a wart. No swelling or itching.

I am rather suprised at how many people get stung on feet and ankles.... I tuck my trousers into socks, wear boots which cover my ankles, then bee suite over that and a throw away crime scene pair of overalls over all that, to keep the bee suite clean.
 
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I am rather suprised at how many people get stung on feet and ankles Mmmmm, I thought I was safe. Thick long socks, walking boots and trousers tucked into socks and boots. Dropped a QE, bees dived on my foot (nearest target) and got caught between the toungue of the boot and my sock. When I tried to move away they got squashed and stung through the sock. I ended up in the greenhouse - stripping off boots and socks then going into the house barefoot twenty minutes later when they let me out!!

Needless to say - my footwear has now changed...and so has my attitude...much more careful and cautious
 

dc197 

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who diagnosed cellulitis?

how long after the stings was the foot photo taken?

Hi Doc
The foot was someone at the local urgent care centre, the eyelid was an eye specialist (to whom the A&E nurse sent me).

The foot, 24 hours. The face, 48 hours. In the case of the face, the eye area was slightly less puffy in the pic than it was after 24 hrs, but it had spread down my cheek noticeably.


What do you think it is then? Moreover, why does it only happen SOMETIMES (e.g. both feet stung, only ONE swelled up. The one with more stings - 15 stings - had no reaction at all).

Cheers
DC
 

dc197 

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How did they get to you?


Foot was an accident. A bee must have been perched on the back of my thigh or something, then I squatted down to better see the hive and squashed her. One sting invited dozens within seconds.

The eye was my own stupidity: It's OK, I don't need all my protective clothing, I am just lifting the lid above the crown board to refill the feeder. Wrong!
It was the morning of my sister's wedding and by afternoon you could just see the infection (or whatever it was) puffing up, just in time for photos.
 

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bee stings

They're almost certainly both just within the normal spectrum of reactions to venom. Unfortunately most medics have rarely seen "established" sting reactions - I hadn't until i started with bees last year (doctor of 18 years) - what they get is someone turning up straight afterwards wanting treatment, someone with an allergy or the rare case of a proper anaphylactic reaction.

Cellulitis will generally develop from an infected wound eg insect or animal bite - most times you'll avoid it but every so often you'll get one where the pain, redness, swelling and heat spread progressively out from site of infection. The rash/redness will tend to be mottled rather than just a generalised red swelling like you get with stings.

Most of the time as beeks we get "stings" through suits or gloves that are basically just minor scratches - a bit red for a little while but goes down within a few hours. Especially if we run indoors screaming for the piriton and ice pack.

A full dose of venom in an unfortunate spot will cause redness and swelling that develops over 24-48 hrs (or more) and takes ages to resolve.

I'm sorely tempted to sacrifice one (or more) of my girls in order to produce a photographic montage for the site to demonstrate the process.

And before anyone complains to RSPCA it'll be carried out abroad!!!!!!
 
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Go for kevlar protection..
 
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Black Comb 

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Standard advice is to ALWAYS wear wellies.
With boots you cannot help put your ankles at risk unless you wear gaiters.
 
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I thought about a suit of armour...then decided just to wear what I had bought but thought I didn't need...
 

dc197 

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They're almost certainly both just within the normal spectrum of reactions to venom. Unfortunately most medics have rarely seen "established" sting reactions - I hadn't until i started with bees last year (doctor of 18 years) - what they get is someone turning up straight afterwards wanting treatment, someone with an allergy or the rare case of a proper anaphylactic reaction.

Cellulitis will generally develop from an infected wound eg insect or animal bite - most times you'll avoid it but every so often you'll get one where the pain, redness, swelling and heat spread progressively out from site of infection. The rash/redness will tend to be mottled rather than just a generalised red swelling like you get with stings.

Most of the time as beeks we get "stings" through suits or gloves that are basically just minor scratches - a bit red for a little while but goes down within a few hours. Especially if we run indoors screaming for the piriton and ice pack.

A full dose of venom in an unfortunate spot will cause redness and swelling that develops over 24-48 hrs (or more) and takes ages to resolve.

I'm sorely tempted to sacrifice one (or more) of my girls in order to produce a photographic montage for the site to demonstrate the process.

And before anyone complains to RSPCA it'll be carried out abroad!!!!!!

Thanks for the insight, Doc. But I'm still confused about why this only happens half the time. For example, being stung many times on both feet only produced a delayed, painful, hot and tender swelling in one of the feet. The other was perfectly fine.

Do you recommend antihistamine and ice each time one gets stung? I did that in the case of the foot and the eye, to no avail.
 

MJBee 

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Wellies protect the lower leg and feet as bees crawl upwards - WRONG - I finished an inspection of a Q- colony from hell dancing round like a demented morris dancer.

nine stings through thinish socks 5 left 4 right they weren't choosy any wellie would do. I am considering boating type wellies - the ones with a draw string closure at the top but I aint inspecting in yellow wellies:ack2:
 

kazmcc 

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Thanks for the insight, Doc. But I'm still confused about why this only happens half the time. For example, being stung many times on both feet only produced a delayed, painful, hot and tender swelling in one of the feet. The other was perfectly fine.

Do you recommend antihistamine and ice each time one gets stung? I did that in the case of the foot and the eye, to no avail.
With regards to the stinging on your feet, did you get the stings out straight away on both feet? Could you have got more venom on one foot than the other? I am pretty paranoid about getting stung ( I have been aware of crouching before, a few times I've gone to crouch down, then thought about it....but only because I've read about others mishaps on here :p ) As I am scared of bees and being stung, I have read pretty much every post about it on here. From what I can tell it's just one of those things. I've read posts about people who have had totally differing reactions to being stung in exactly the same place.

I would say that if you get more than a slight local reaction to previous stings, then antihistamines and ice would be a good idea. It can't hurt can it, and if it gives even slight relief then it's worth it.

Being stung like this hasn't put you off bee keeping though has it? :leaving:
 
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Try putting your trouser legs outside the wellies and an elastic band if they arent already elasticated.
 

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