Spring is here and Honey Bees may be too. Frequently we hear about stories of stinging insects during spring and summer, some of those may be due to a sweet friend the “Honey Bee”.
Bees may be found outdoors virtually anywhere during warm months, close to waste containers, vegetable gardens, and flower beds, etc.. Wild colonies are usually found in hollow trees. They are attracted to color and scent, for example: colorful shirts or the use of perfumes/colognes, so the avoidance of these may be strongly encouraged in people allergic to them.
Honey Bees can cause a painful sting with only local reactions although, severe reactions may occur and in extreme cases fatalities too. Local treatment of bee stings consist in removing the stinger, this should be done quickly regardless of the method used as it has been shown that the more time it remains in place more venom is injected. Disinfecting the area and applying ice helps delay the spread of venom. In some cases oral antihistamines or topical corticosteroid creams may help. Life threatening reactions require the immediate use of injectable Epinephrine.
An interesting fact is that during stinging, bees release alarm pheromones located close to the sting gland, this tells other closely located bees to attack the pheromone-marked victim, reason why some people may receive multiple stings.
Board Certified Allergists have the capability of helping Honey Bee allergic people; by using Honey Bee venom immunotherapy (shots), preventing in up to 98% cases of potential life threatening reactions to bee stings.
If you or someone you know may be at risk for Honey Bee stings and is interested in knowing more about this, we at Allergy Partners will be more than glad to help.
Milan Sljivich, MD
Allergy Partners of Dallas Fort Worth