There are different types of reactions as a result of bee stings.
It is important to seek medical help if any of these reactions occur after being stung.
Keep in mind some symptoms occur at sites remote from the sting site; being stung may cause hives, stomach cramps, wheezing or difficulty in breathing.
The normal sting reaction will usually develop into a sore, red welt (bump) and will often be painful. Itching is a common symptom that occurs after a sting but symptoms should subside after a few days.
The allergic reaction to a sting is typically a widespread reaction. These types of reactions usually involve itching and hives throughout the body. Difficulty with breathing can also be a symptom of an allergic reaction. Allergic reactions can be grouped into two types: systemic reaction which typically occurs immediately after the sting and could possibly be fatal.
Large Local Reactions
Large local reactions are less life threatening but could still be fatal due the swelling in the throat, which can stop air flow.
In the event of a toxic reaction, a beekeeper receives too many stings, for the body to handle, in a short period of time. Bee venom introduced in a short period of time in immense amounts can be fatal. Most individuals can tolerate multiple stings depending on health, age and body weight.
What do I do if I’m stung?
If you are stung by a bee make sure you remove the stinger as soon as possible. You can use your finger nail to scrape or pull the stinger out. Only honey bees leave their stingers behind because the stinger is barbed, other insects have smooth stingers.
Bees release an alarm pheromone when they sting so it is important to be aware of other bees around that could be attracted to this pheromone. If other bees are attracted, puff smoke on the affected area remove yourself from the vicinity and wash to remove the pheromones. If you are stung multiple times remain calm this could be a sign of defensive bees. In this situation close the colony and give the bees time to calm down. Seek medical attention if any symptoms worsen.
As a beekeeper it is important to carry an EpiPen (Epinephrine Auto-Injectors) in the event of an allergic or toxic reaction. In most cases apply ice to stings as soon as possible. Ice restricts blood flow so the venom should not spread as far. Ice also numbs the area, decreasing the sensation of pain. To further reduce swelling and pain try an antihistamine. Sting-sensitive persons should also consider wearing a Medic-Alert identification bracelet and have an EpiPen (Epinephrine Auto-Injectors) readily available.
Removing A Stinger
BE SURE TO CONSULT YOUR DOCTOR IF YOU ARE ON MEDICATION AND/OR ARE SENSITIVE TO BEE STINGS.
Because honey bees have barbed stingers the stinger becomes lodged in the skin.
To remove the stinger scrape out with a finger nail.
This is an example of a normal sting reaction.
Note the welt, redness and swelling are common with a normal sting reaction.
What is Apitherapy?
Apitherapy is the systematic technique of using honey bee products such as honey, propolis, royal jelly, pollen and bee venom medicinally.
Bee venom is the more customary method of Apitherapy due to its success in helping relieve symptoms of autoimmune diseases and multiple sclerosis.
This practise of therapeutic healing dates back centuries. Today that ancient knowledge united with modern science is known as Apitherapy. However, it is important to remember bee products may cause an allergic reaction in some individuals.
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