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What should I do if I get stung?

I just got stung, now what?

True story.  I did just get stung.  On the arm.  Twice.  Of course, I went through the 5 stages of grief:  Denial, Anger, Swearing, Depression, then finally and inevitably, Hunger.  Interestingly associated with the final stage, ‘Hunger,’ is the scientifically coincidental ‘cheesecake rebound,’ that instantly lifts the spirits.  Sidenote:  A few of these stages noted above are debatable.  Scientists (at least scientists that I’d like to hang out with) almost exclusively agree with the 3rd stage, or “swearing.”

So why did I get stung?  I am an avid hobbyist beekeeper.  Being an owner of a pest control company in the Boise area, I know it seems like a contradiction.  But I love reading about bees, looking at bees, looking at beekeeper supply magazines, etc.  Mostly….I just love the honey.  All joking aside, they really are fascinating!

So yesterday I found myself looking at one of my hives:

This hive was from from a swarm I caught last year in Caldwell, the biggest one I’ve ever seen in fact.  Once captured, I quickly understood why.  The queen in this hive is a prolific egg-layer, whose progeny are excellent honey gatherers.  Though virtuous in many important ways to a Beekeeper, this hive has one awful tendency:  They get angry, fast if you mess with them!

All I did was open the top and they went nuts.  I had my trusty bee suit on, which is supposed to protect me (theoretically) from angry bees and their stings.  But, as I’ve found out, theory doesn’t always agree with reality (Apparently my guiding health theory is wrong.  It turns out that the ‘Dr.’ in Dr. Pepper doesn’t mean ‘prescribed by a doctor’)  They stung me twice in the upper arm through my bee suit.  It ALSO turns out that I had holes in my gloves in two places:

If you encounter a bee hive, hornets nest, yellow jacket nest, or paper wasp nest, stay away and give them plenty of space.  Left alone, they probably won’t bother you.  But if you do happen to get stung, here are a few helpful tips:

•Remove the stinger as fast as you can.  A quick scrape over the stinger with your fingernail will do the job.

•Elevate the stung body part and apply a cold compress to the site

•Clean the sting area with soap and water to avoid infections

•Use a topical hydrocortisone cream, and take a antihistamine tablet to reduce swelling and itching

For most people, like me, the above recommendations are all you need to take care of your problem.  Some people however have severe allergic reaction to insect stings, called Anaphylaxis.  This reaction may be life threatening.  Symptoms can include difficulty breathing dizziness, nausea, diarrhea, tongue and throat swelling.    Some cases involve a quick loss of blood pressure and unconsciousness.

If you know you react this way, or if you begin to react this way, seek medical attention immediately.  Some individuals with known reactions carry around epinephrine, commonly known as an Epipen.  This auto-injection device injects an individual enough medicine to counteract the reaction; it works to open airways and narrows blood vessels to combat loss of blood pressure.  If you ever inject yourself with an Epipen, you still should seek immediate medical attention, even if you feel fine.

So there you have it:  The grief cycle, drinking Dr Pepper isn’t healthy, and what to do if you get stung by a bee.  I should at least be an actor that plays a T.V. Doctor, if not an actual one.  Oh well, I’ll settle for a cyber one.

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