Bee Allergy in Adults

The spring season makes most of us happy. However, for those with bee allergy, bees wandering around colorful flowers in spring can cause serious life-threatening problems.

Bee allergy in adults can lead to life-threatening allergic reactions in the form of allergic shock (anaphylactic shock). After a bee sting, reactions such as swelling and redness develop in the arm due to many chemicals contained in it, while allergic reactions such as itching, dizziness, fainting may develop in the body due to some allergens they contain.

In our country, the risk of developing serious widespread reactions due to bee stings was found to be 2.2%. Some of them result in death due to bee allergy.

Bees are generally divided into honey bee and wild bee. While the honey bee stinger stays where it stings, other wild bees do not. Separating bees in this way is important in the treatment of bee allergy.

Bee allergy is an allergy that can be treated by allergists. Therefore, it should be seen and evaluated by allergists.

Bee Allergy Symptoms in Adults

With the spring months, there is an increase in bee allergies as well as pollen allergies. Complaints due to bee stings are more common especially in the spring months when bees roam around. Many people living in cities may not be in intense contact with bees. If they are not engaged in beekeeping, we may encounter more bees in rural areas. Allergic sensitivity due to wasp sting requires several stings, and sometimes it can occur after a single sting. In contrast, bee allergy is mostly seen in humans who are stung frequently by bees. Almost most patients allergic to bees come from beekeepers or their families, and sometimes it can occur in their immediate neighbors.

What are the symptoms of a bee sting?

  • Ache
  • Rash
  • Swelling (in the sting area and sometimes in the whole area)
  • Combustion
  • Urticaria (Hives) and Angioedema
  • Itching
  • Allergic shock (Anaphylaxis)

Apart from these, serum sickness, neuropathy, encaphalitis, glomerulonephritis, myocarditis, and guillain barre syndrome can be seen very rarely.

Symptoms caused by bee allergy sting are usually local (regional) or systemic.

Depending on the bee sting, intense pain, redness and often swelling in a small area (up to 1-2 cm in diameter) can be seen at the site of the sting. Edema occurs at the sting site due to local reactions. Such bumps appear within a few hours and gradually change in size, sometimes affecting one hand or the entire arm. Sometimes, bubble-like swelling may occur in the place where it was inserted, and then an infection may develop in this area. If the airway is not affected unless the head is inserted through the neck area, such swelling is not life-threatening.

Bee Sting Reactions

Common systemic reactions due to bee stings also develop outside the place where the bee stings. Systemic reactions vary greatly in severity. Early symptoms are seen as redness and itching, followed by urticaria and angioedema. Fatal symptoms are seen in patients who develop more severe systemic reactions. Symptoms of dyspnea due to laryngeal edema and asthma often occur along with a feeling of deterioration. Apart from this, in severe reactions, hypotension causing dizziness, fainting or loss of consciousness is seen. In addition, abdominal pain, urinary incontinence, chest pain or visual disturbances may be seen.

The clinical picture varies from person to person. Symptoms such as rash, urticaria and angioedema that occur after a bee sting in some of the patients may start suddenly and unfortunately cause loss of consciousness within a few minutes. In some patients, systemic reactions may begin 10 minutes after the sting and there may be a time for the patient to go to the emergency room.