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As some of you know, I keep bees. I rarely get stung, but yesterday, for no reason I can fathom, one of my girls decided to lay down her life and whacked me in the leg.

I have been stung maybe four times in my adult life. Each time, including yesterday, the sting causes a LOT of discomfort and swells up significantly. (Yesterday's sting is currently now a 3" diameter swollen lump, and that is AFTER using antihistamine.) I have the same reaction, no worse or better, each time I get stung. I don't get short of breath or have any other reactions. The sting is just very painful for about half an hour and then like the world's worst mosquito bite for several weeks afterward.

So, here is the question. Should I talk to my doctor about keeping an epipen, just in case? Or is this just considered a reaction, rather than an allergy? I would think, if it were an allergy, it would be getting worse with each sting. But if it is just a reaction, I have read that one's body becomes less reactive each time one is stung, to the point where veteran beekeeps barely notice when they get hit. Maybe because I get stung so rarely, my body isn't becoming accustomed to the venom?
 

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I have a friend who works in an allergy clinic (RN). She said most people who keep bees wind up with severe allergy to the stings. I would definitely talk to your doctor. Better safe than sorry.
 

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you don't have to have a life threatening reaction to have an allergy to it. but it can get worse or in combo with another allergy. so better safe then sorry
 

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It sounds like a severe reaction. I haven't been stung in years, but I don't recall the welts lasting days. If it happens every time that may just be the way your body and your immune system react.

The symptoms to watch for are: increasing redness, hives or itching, feeling hot all over, nausea, difficulty breathing, swelling of the throat, tongue or lips. Those are signs of allergic reaction, the last few are indicative of anaphylactic shock and could be fatal if not treated immediately.

I'm not a doctor, so if you have concerns you should call and talk to yours.
 
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check with the dr about epipens. I keep bees and had a major sting incident this summer (Totally my fault!) and got 20+ stings at once. A benadryl (off brand) twice a day kept the reaction to a minimum. I do have epipens for a different allergy, not stings, but if you use those you still have to go to the hospital and so I only use them if my throat closes up. The benadryl did the trick for the stings and only took it for a couple of days to keep the swelling around my eyes (veil? nope...ooops) down so I could see.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
It is easy to get complacent. I was working on a planter that was near the hive, but off to the side. The bees never care when I am out in that area, but either someone bumped into me and got startled or they smelled me (hot and sweaty and bees hate BO) and decided to take me out. Luckily, I felt it as soon as she hit me, so none of the others had time to react to her alarm pheromones before I was able to get away from the hive. I heard one buzzing around me, so she was thinking about it. Because I wasn't working on the hive, I had shorts, a t-shirt, and flip flops on. Could have gotten ugly!
 
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