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Bee sting blues.

Each year, more than twice as many people die from insect stings than from snake bites. Although most bee sting deaths occur among those who became allergic from previous stings, others result from multiple stings.

Bee stings are more likely to occur among people with other known allergies. Among persons not known to have bee sting allergies, a sting is dangerous only when the bee is swallowed or inhaled, thus causing an airway obstruction.

Persons unusually sensitive to bee stings may have a severe reaction known as anaphylaxis, which can be fatal if not treated immediately. Bee sting kits, which contain a syringe with a small portion of epinephrine, are readily available.

Epinephrine, another name for adrenaline, is the body's natural hormonal reaction to stress. When the body is overcome with the stress of toxic materials from the bee sting, a shot of epinephrine can be a lifesaving measure.

Miles Laboratories manufactures a kit called Ana-Kit that also contains chewable antihistamine tablets and a small tourniquet with instructions. The kit required a prescription and can last up to two years in the home at room temperature.

The most important thing you can do for you children is to tell them about the early symptons of anaphylactic shock, which can also occur as an allergic reaction to other substances, such as penicillin. These symptoms may include hives, swelling of the face and neck, nausea, abdominal cramps, and difficulty in breathing.
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Publication:Medical Update
Date:Apr 1, 1992
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