I’ve heard of people terribly allergic to bee stings, perhaps even fatally. How does that become known? It’s not like being allergic to cats (where they might have been around) or dandelions (where smelling them can cause a reaction but eating them can be serious).
Unfortunately it’s usually found out when the person ends up in the emergency room having an anaphylactic reaction to a sting.
Most often, the allergies to bee stings are similar in progress to allergies to penecillin and related drugs. A person can suffer the first sting without dying, but they will react so severely to the sting that it is obvious that they cannot safely suffer another.
People who are really, really allergic, would probably die on the first sting.
I suspect that the first sting triggers a reaction in the body that will cause the body to overcompensate when it suffers a second sting.
I was stung by several bees growing up, and then once I was stung by three hornets at once, and I had a bad reaction. From then on, I had severe reactions including breathing difficulties on every bee sting.
I ended up taking a series of shots, twice a week in the arms, for 6 months, to build up my resistance. The shots had progessively more venom as I was able to handle more and more of it. Since then I’ve been stung by bees without too much of a bad reaction, but I still carry an epi pen.
When I was about 10, I suffered a bee sting on my face and my entire face blew up like a balloon for several days. After that I have suffered some bee stings without apparent allergic reaction. Once I was cruising down the highway on my motorcycle when a bee happened in my way an ended inside my helmet, on my upper lip. I promptly stopped but before I could take my helmet off, it stung me. No allergic reaction this time.
Some years ago, I was inside my home when I felt a sting on my left arm. I never saw what bit me but over the next few days the whole arm swelled up like a balloon. My fingers looked like sausages. After like four days it subsided.
I guess it could be allergies come and go.
I think everybody’s allergic, to a certain extent. Even I (as a former beekeeper) swelled up a little when I got stung about 30 times in 5 minutes. Beekeepers are generally “immune”, which just means we don’t swell when stung. Still hurts like heck, tho. Just my $.02.
I am allergic to bee stings and carry an epi-pen. I was stung for the first and only time in Grade Nine and went in to shock. I have not been stung since but dread the time in the fall when wasps become quite aggressive. We have record high numbers this year. Kinda scary out there.
Both my brother and I, upon first encounter with bee sting, swelled up substantially in the area of the sting. That’s what first drew our attention (pretty clever, eh?) No one else in our family has demonstrated an allergic reaction.
My brother has since outgrown his allergy. My first sting was in adulthood, so I don’t know if I was allergic as a child. I also carry an epi pen.
I know of no test that will test you out for this (although perhaps an allergist might???).
I believe there is a test; ask your doctor.
In any case, I’m pretty sure it’s progressive, and unlikely that the first sting will kill you. It was progressive for me, and the several members of my family who share my allergy: local swelling at first, which gets worse with successive stings, and eventual symptoms of shock. But it didn’t become truly dangerous for me until I was in my thirties.