Another Bee Sting Question....

Updated on July 27, 2011
N.J. asks from Redlands, CA
13 answers

Just curious does anyone know if getting stung by a bee more than once is like a 'cold' in that your body builds immunity towards the venom, or could you at any time develop an allergy to it? My 22 month was stung again last night (3rd time) and it is in a new location but his hand swelled up like a balloon today. The other two stings were on his finger and yes his finger swelled, but not to the extreme of his hand. This may be normal for the location I really don't know. Difference is he doesn't seem nearly as bothered by it as his other stings,which is a good thing. I'm just worried that with each subsequent sting, if it should happen again, the reaction will continue to get progressively worse! Or even worse him having a true allergic reaction to it.

I'm kind of leaning towards asking the Pediatrician for an eppy pin, just in case, especially since he seems to be 'prone' to being stung. But I also don't want to sound overly paranoid either! Thoughts?

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answers from Minneapolis on

I got stung once on my hand in high school and my hand swelled up and that was about it. Then a couple of years ago I got stung on my hand again and swelled up and became very red. Then I got stung a third time on my arm and I got hives and my throat started swelling and I had to go to the Dr for a shot and some benadryl. I was told to take Benadryl for about 2 weeks after the sting. Now I have to carry an epipen with me. The Dr said that if I got stung again that my reaction would be more severe.

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answers from San Francisco on

I believe it is like any allergy, where you may only have a mild reaction at first, and it can get much worse with continued exposure to the allergen. I hardly reacted the first few times I was stung by bees, but it became worse the next few times. The last time I was stung by a bee, I stepped on it, and my foot swelled, as did my entire leg up to my hip. I went to the doctor and he said that I should carry an epi pen, because the next time I could go into respiratory shock. It's not a bad idea to ask your pedi, just to be on the safe side.

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answers from Eugene on

Do you make a mud pack for his bee stings? Native Americans taught my child to do that when she got bit at the Rancheria (what California Native Am. call the reservation). It worked like a charm. He's old enough to eat bee pollen which may give him some protection to stings.
Go to the health food store or wherever they sell homeopathics. Get APIS 30C it's bee and give it to him tomorrow. The swelling will go away. We use this when we get stung and it really works. Two tablets ever half hour 3x then one per hour. Once the swelling or the itching stop do not use Apis this way but every 6 hours for one extra day.

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answers from Seattle on

Like any allergy, it can get stronger or weaker over time. Anaphylactic shock is "just" a strong allergic reaction.

Sometimes every time you're exposed the reaction gets milder and milder, sometimes it gets stronger and stronger, and sometimes you don't get a 'warning' (like excessive swelling or blistering), you just go straight into anaphylaxis.

Talk it over with your doc. They may want to start you out with Benedryl first, or they may want you to come to the ER for each sting, or to carry/admin an epi shot AND the ER, or some combo of the two.

Learning how to deal with/about allergies isn't paranoid; it's informed parenting.

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answers from Washington DC on

i have been stung by bee twice. But only the second time it swelled up. I think it depends on the kind of bee that stings you. Just check if there are any beehive near you home. Get the windows sealed with some kind of net, so that no more bees will stings your baby

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answers from Norfolk on

Bee/wasp/insect stings tend to be accumulative - the more you are exposed, the bigger a reaction you can have the next time it happens.
Bees need a water source and there must be a hive somewhere within a mile or two of your house that has designated your pool as their source of water.
Find a bee keeper who can help you track down where they are coming from and maybe he can remove the hive to another location so your pool will no longer be their watering hole.

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answers from Portland on

I would certainly give benadryl and tylenol now. Then, I would get a pen from the doc. Bees are like any other allergy, this time might be ok, but the next time you could be severely allergic. My brother has to deal with this all the time. The docs said if he get stung again, he could die, so to answer your question, yes you can build up an immunity to it, or you can become allergic. Its kind of a crapshoot, and it sounds like your son is going the allergic way. I hope all is well. Try putting baking soda on the sting and then pouring vineger on top. It will bubble, like making a volcano in school, but it will pull out the poison and stinger if it is still in there. This is the BEST trick ever. Works for nettles too. Good luck!

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answers from Appleton on

Bee and other insect venom is mostly protein. You can make a paste with meat tenderizer and water and put that on the sting right away. It helps break down the venom. I would still call the doctor and ask questions.

I have strong reactions to bug bites. One mosquito bite and I itch all over and I notice that my hands and feet swell no matter where the bite is.

Make sure you use the dull side of a knife and rub the stinger out, in the direction it went in.

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answers from New York on

I would call the answering service to see if you should give him benadryl if it's that bad. Usually a bee sting allergy is pretty evident from what I've been told, but I'd call just to be sure. Good luck.

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answers from Los Angeles on

My girlfriend has seen similar reactions in her 5 year old and the doctor recommended an eppy pen. She was told the allergic reaction could get worse with each sting and it's better to be safe than sorry. On the other hand, I have a more severe reaction each time I get stung (I've had local allergic reactions since my youth), but I've never been to the point of respiratory problems or anaphylactic shock. Either way, your DS is young and he can't communicate well if he starts experiencing other adverse reactions. An eppy pen is cheap insurance!

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answers from Chicago on

Sounds like you have a bees nest around your house...Go get it removed. Your son will either build resistance or be allergic. Sounds like he is allergic. Keep you eye on him.

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answers from Los Angeles on

You can at any time developed an allergy to it. My youngest brother was highly allergic after his fourth/fifth? sting and would require an immediate visit to the ER every time he got stung after that, but he's not been stung since his teenage years (he's 30y now) so we don't know how his body will react to being stung now. My younger brother (just turned 32) just a couple summers ago got stung for the first time since childhood and had to make a run for the ER because of developing breathing problems just an hour later.

I'm scared to get stung myself now cause both my brothers are now walking with epipens and the last time i got stung at 17y I ended up having to take steriods to get the swelling to go away from two hornet stings I got at a pool party.

However, my daughter has been stung countless times (12y) and just this summer stepped on a bee and her foot swelled up and was swollen for two days- not a usual reaction for her! So she might be starting down the path to being allergic....

Sooo, if I were you, I'd have the pediatrician check him out, but I don't think he will give you an epipen just yet. Just recommendation for benedryl and ice packing it. If anything, having the facts of his reactions to the current sting might be useful in the future in case he gets stung again.



answers from Honolulu on

I would DEFINITELY check with the Pediatrician.
To get a proper and informed decision on this.

IF he one day gets a bad reaction, then what?

Allergies, CANNOT be predicted, without knowledge of all ramifications of it.
And it can be, dangerous and life threatening.

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