Bee sting advice

Nurses General Nursing


  • Specializes in Geri and adult psych, hospice.

Hi guys,

I have a question about bee stings that I was hoping someone could answer.

When I was a child I was told that I had allergies to bee stings. I remember getting stung on my knee once when I was five and I broke out in really bad hives that the doc said could have gone into my throat. I'm 26 now, and ironically have not been stung since. Really I have no idea what would happen if I did get stung now, but I still assume I'm still allergic and could break out in hives that possibly lead to fatality. The reason I'm all of a sudden concerned about this is because I am going camping this weekend and my boyfriend is concerned that if I were to get stung by a bee the nearest hospital is an hour away. I've never had one of those epi-pens, and have gone camping before, but have not been stung. I guess he got me thinking and now I'm concerned on what I should do. Should I just go and not worry about it, like before, or should I find out about getting an epi-pen? How do I get one of those anyway? Sorry about such a long post! Thanks for your advice everyone. :) Louisepug

Specializes in Neuro/Med-Surg/Oncology.

I would not go anywhere there are bees without an epi-pen if I were you. A main side effect of bee stings is analphylactic shock. It can occur within minutes. Even if you have not had a severe reaction in the past, you still can. Better to be safe than sorry AKA dead. Talk to your doctor ASAP! Just my .02 cents.

hoolahan, ASN, RN

1 Article; 1,721 Posts

Specializes in Home Health.

Yes, I agree. You can become more sensitive with subsequent exposure as well. Your reaction could be faster and more severe.

To get an epi-pen, you need a Rx from the doc. I think that is all you need. But you could start with a call to the doc. The remember to teach your bf how to use it if you can't do it yourself.

Have a fun, and safe trip.


151 Posts

Specializes in Geri and adult psych, hospice.

Thanks guys! Will call Doc tomorrow~ :)

rjflyn, ASN, RN

1,240 Posts

Specializes in Emergency.

Being an hour or more away from health care you may want more than one epi pen. You also may want to care some benadryl with you as well.



72 Posts

Benadryl is a good idea, I don't know that more than one epi-pen is necessary though. I have one, and luckily never had to use it (knock on wood...). I was stung as a child with no reaction, and a few more times in pre-teen to teens, each time more severe than the last. I moved out in the middle of nowhere, and got an epi-pen to be on the safe side, but you only use them in life or death situations. If you get stung, you don't automatically use the pen, only if there's a big problem, analphylactic shock, or you could stop your heart in worse case senerio. It is a strong addrenille (sorry, my spelling is always horrible!) and should only be used in emergency. But they are good to have on hand if your far from a hospital, so you have back-up, and are only good for onr year. Your doc should give you one no problem, but ask how and when to use it!


152 Posts

Something I noticed no one else touched on; use of an epipen does not mean you use it and continue on your "merry camping way." An epipen does not stop the reaction; it merely buys you time to get to a treatment facility. The epinephrine is adrenaline and decreases the initial reaction. After using, you still would need to continue to hospital or acute care facility for benadryl, tagamet, and solumedrol, and be monitored for a period of time to be sure you do not have a rebound reaction that is as extreme as the initial reaction. You then would be on some histamine blockers and maybe steriods for 3-4 days if your reaction was severe enough to warrant this treatment. In the last 3-4 years I have seen bee/wasp/yellow jacket venom so potent it has resulted in acute MI's in some folks. I have to wonder if the MI patients had some underlying cardiac issues that were never previously ID'ed. My experience and 2 cents.

Specializes in CCU (Coronary Care); Clinical Research.

I agree with the epi-pen and having some benadryl or zyrtec (rx) if you can...I too am quite sensitive to bees...the epi-pen, though I have not had to use it, gives me some peace of mind...I usually just swell up really big...last time I had to get put on antibiotics for cellulitis...each time you get stung it can be worse than the last time...and it is better to be safe than sorry (or dead...)

Have fun camping!!

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