Homeschooling, farm life and our love of earth

"Everything that happens to you is your teacher. The secret is to learn to sit at the feet of your own life and be taught by it." ~Polly Berrien Berends

Friday, 11 July 2008

Bee Allergies

The definition of a bee allergy can be vague and is often the automatic choice of doctors when faced with a swollen and worried patient. The reason for this is simple, doctors tend to cover their arses and err on the side a caution.

This is what we have discovered through our 5 year old sons allergy...

1] Doctors are quick to define a swelling as an allergic reaction.
2] Bee venom is poison and therefore a reaction[swelling] is normal.
3] ONLY a blood test can confirm an allergy and the extent of the allergy
4] Only after your first bee sting will your body immune system be ready to respond to bee venom. In other words, only after your first sting will your body be allergic or not allergic.

Here is our story.

Thomas was 2 years and 2 weeks old when he was stung and went into anaphylactic shock [stung on his foot but his face was swollen, he coughed and struggled to breathe] and we had to rush him to hospital. At the hospital, the doctors did follow a predetermined procedure, but it was obvious to me that they did not have a deep understanding of the cause and effects. I suppose, because of our love of bees we asked more answers than the average parent and were frustrated that we were entrusting our child to some one who knew so little. So our journey of needing to understand bee venom allergies had begun.

After many phone calls I was finally referred to the UCT Lung Institute where I spoke to Sister Thomas. She immediately gave me solid advice and a sense of the way forward. The first thing she suggested was to take Thomas [poor little 2 yr old] for a blood test. This confirmed our worst fear, he was severely allergic and could easily die from a sting. [This was shocking, sometimes while holding a bee, I look at her in wonder and confusion that such a small and amazing creature could have such a powerful effect on my life.] We then equipped ourselves with the correct medicines to treat a sting. We were told to do the following if he was stung again [in this specific order] administer quick acting anti histamines orally, apply topical anti histamine cream, inject him with adrenaline, drive to the closest hospital. She suggested adrenaline ampules as the are much cheaper than an epi-pen [R10 vs R500]

She then offered us the choice of two long term solutions. And we opted for the immuno-therapy injections but had to wait till Thomas was three to start the treatment. He is now almost 6 and has just over one year left on the program. How it works is he was initially injected with minute amounts of bee venom every week [YES - Homeopathic] until finally he was after a 16 week program being injected with the equivalent of two bee stings. [albeit in a slow release protein and not injected directly into the blood] He then went only every two weeks, then finally only every 6-8 weeks for immuno-therapy. He now has less than 10 injections till the program is finished and was stung a few weeks back. His response was excellent and considered normal, he experience a localised swelling that subsided after a day or 2.

So it appears as if the treatment is really helping him.

Each bee sting is different, the potency of the venom can vary according to the age of the bee and the amount of venom that the bee injects into you. Also it is possible to be allergic and never have a full reaction, again only a blood test can confirm whether or not you are allergic.
Natural remedies are amazing and serve a great purpose, my homeopath said that Apic 30 C would support the healing process but would not stop anaphalytic shock or a severe allergic reaction. Bulbine or vygie also help minimise the reaction. But the reaction is due to poison that needs to not be suppressed but rather allowed [supported] to leave the body naturally. And this is where natural remedies are great.
Bee stings must be scratched off not pinched. Pinching it results in the venom sac being squeezed and all the venom enters the blood stream.
If you are trying to catch a swarm, rub Melissa Offialis [Sp?], commonly called Bee balm [or lemon balm] inside the hive. The scent attracts swarms.


dottyspots said...

this is great, thanks for posting :0)

It's good to hear that the treatment is helping your son - it must be such a relief.

RunninL8 said...

Thanks for this great info! My little has never been stung but i have always worried about the possible reaction.
About the owl picture on my blog-I WISH I took that! It's a mama protecting her nest! ;)
I'll try to go back and find out who took it. I meant to credit them on the blog!

Carle said...

Thanks for your comments.
Bee allergy is a hectic fear for us.

Heh Runninl8, that photo is amazing, I think I might kidnap it! LOL

Anonymous said...

Great post - thanks for the info!

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