Are you or someone that you know allergic to bee stings?
Let’s talk about VIT (otherwise known as venom immunotherapy).
What is it and how does it help those who are allergic to stinging insects such as the honey bee?
Let me start by telling you a personal story…
About a week ago as my husband walked in the door from work I noticed that he seemed a little distant. Normally he comes in the door saying “Hello family!” with hugs all around.
This time, however he made a “beeline” to the bedroom and began to change out of his work clothes. I began chatting with him as I normally do. “Did you know what we did today?” When he seemed like he was ignoring me I became a little annoyed.
Until I actually looked at him…
I was a little taken back. His face was bright red and his eyes looked strained, almost like he had been choked by someone. Surprised, I asked him what was going on. He explained that the last dose of his once a week venom immunotherapy shot had been administered today, and although things had been going well, he was now having a reaction.
Luckily, with a quick stab to the leg with an epi pen within twenty minutes his symptoms had subsided. You see, my husband is a beekeeper by hobby and has been for about five years. Although we didn’t see any major symptoms of an allergic reaction to bee stings initially, within the last year we noticed his body reacting with a rash on his chest and a little light headedness when he was stung.
Because my husband is stubborn, (for better or for worse!) he was not ready to give up this particular hobby. Which meant he started looking into options.
The first thing he did to protect himself was upgrade his beekeeper suit to a more expensive, head to toe heavy duty, yet breathable one. Yes, even complete with goat skin gloves. (Sounds stylish, eh?)
The next thing he did was begin going to an allergy clinic where they are able to administer tiny doses of bee venom to a small area of his skin. This is done over a 3 year period going from once a week to once a month. The dose is gradually increased so that his body will create an immunity to the allergic reaction of bee stings.
The process is called venom immunotherapy and has been shown to be quite effective.
However, this time because of the reaction to the bee venom he will need to go back down a step in potency and take things slower without a reaction in order to continue.
Because venom immunotherapy is one of the best preventive therapies in medicine, with over 90% effectiveness in eliminating sting reactions, over time my husband should be able to work with his beehives without too much concern if he is stung.
What about you? Do you have any experience with allergic reactions to bee stings?
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