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The perils of climbing

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I was hiking up to do some climbing on Sunday when I got stung on my face. I uttered some explicatives and sprinted up the trail. Looking back I could see a dark ball of wasps(?) just above the ground. Thankfully I was able to get in a day of climbing before the swelling got really bad.

 

Out of curiosity, anyone here ever use an epi-pen? The though of using one scares me but I carry one just in case.

 

sting_1.jpg

 

Chad

 

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correct me if I an wrong, but I thought the epi pen was for people allergic to bee stings. If so, why do you carry one since obviously you are not allergic to bee stings.

 

 

where were you climbing at? That is an objective hazard not really thought about much.

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Wait, what; why am I not allergic to bees? My face swelled up to the point of not being able to open my right eye. I don't have much 'data' to go off of but once when I was a kid I got stung twice and started to pass out on my run home. So getting stung twice (or more) has been something I've always feared. Granted, I don't know much about this stuff, the physiology, medicine, etc. Does everyone have swelling when they get stung?

 

 

 

Chad

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I believe that the local swelling is a natural reaction to a bee sting. I thought the people who are allergic to bee stings actually get swelling throughout the whole body. This swelling closes off the airway and hence the danger.

 

If you passed out on your childhood experience with bee stings was due to this swelling, you prolly would not have gotten up. Maybe the passing out was due to hyper exertion?

 

BTW, I am no doctor but I used to play a wilderness first responder for a while.

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I took 200-300 hornet stings rapping a new line @ 2 years back. Didn't look like that:-) BTW, not bees, wasps. Anyway, it gives you that favored "bad boy" look, you know, like you tried to cheap out on a prostitute and she smacked ya.

 

Glad you are OK. Kill all those son of a bitches (hornets) every time you see them is my view. Otherwise, they'll get you at some point. You look allergic. I don't think it's an either-or thing, as much as it's a continuum....some folks are more allergic than others. The first 10-15 min are the times to watch out and keep that Epi pen handy, had you needed to head back to the car, think about taking a break and not continuing until you have sorted out how bad it's going to be. That is, after you are clear of the danger, sit down and see what will happen, keep the epi pen handy and stay closer, not further, from the car.

 

But I don't even play a first responder on TV or nothing. But that's my thoughts. I get out with all kinds of strange medical issue folks, all I ask is honesty in advance, and I know you give it.

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in the backcountry some carry bear spray on the hip

maybe on the way to the crag carry some raid on the hip

 

 

your eye got swollen shut but imho that does not seem like a highly allergic reaction to being stung (that said it was a wasp vs bee--not sure if bees can yield more prolific reactions). it doesn't look that red either, fwiw.

 

my wife got stung on her ear a few octobers ago when the flowers are gone up high and the bees are angry. that entire side of her face swelled up including down to around the neck. Didn't really impact breathing but was on the margins where it would have if it swelled a bit more or the sting was a bit lower. If she got stung on the eyelid today or around the eye I bet she would not be able to breath out of her nose. The swelling lasted I think for 2 days, but still visible on the 3rd.

 

we carry an epi-pen for that reason--if she got stung on the neck, chin, cheek, or upper torso it could be serious, even if its not not fullon anaphylactic shock. for the sting above you can take an antihistamine I think and it will help.

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Yeah not too sure if I would advise the use of an epi-pen for that...... You were stung near your right eye correct (and didn't swell up for hours)? Did you experience any shortness of breath, mouth swelling (tongue or airway), wheezes, hives or any other full body reactions? An epi-pen is for an anaphylactic reaction, and a swollen eye isn't one.

 

 

One thing to consider, that nobody seems to be aware of, is that an epi-pen used during true anaphylaxis will only give you about 15 minutes of extra time, then you will lapse back into the reaction. Something that everybody who carries an epi-pen should also carry is Benadryl, as that is the stuff that works to block the histamine receptors.

 

If you got stung again, and had a similar reaction, i'd take the benadryl before I punched the epi-pen. The epi-pen opens your airway and has nothing to do with the allergic reaction you are having, it is the Benadryl that saves your life in the long run.

 

(Here is the cover my ass portion, I am not a doctor, but I am training to be a paramedic, so do what you want with what i say, but if your doctor says otherwise listen to him/her)

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i always stick myself with an epi pen before a hard redpoint. pull wayyyy harder

 

 

Funny that you say that. I had a friend who's a nurse that said something to that effect. I don't think he was joking either.

 

Maine-iac, I'm a bit embarrassed to say that I only carry one (and leave another at home) because of weight savings. 15 minutes would barely get me back to the car in most cases, let alone back to civilization.

 

 

 

Chad

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I'm an emt and had to use epi in the field on a few people. If I saw you and your eye like that I would consider shooting you up. But really there has to be some sort of a breathing problem before I can really give you epi. From the looks of your eye you should always have an epi pen handy. If you had multiple strike it could have been much worse. From what my medical director tells us epi is pretty harmless. I know some would disagree and im not saying go crazy with the shit. But if your on the fence I lean more towards taking the shot. The pen also is not as hardcore as it appears. It injects the epi super fast so itS more like a needle prick. It just looks painful because people overreact.

 

Meani is right though Benadryl is the key to suppressing the long term affects. You should carry both in your first aid kit.

 

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I took 200-300 hornet stings rapping a new line @ 2 years back.

 

 

Bill, there would be a little wooden cross at the base of the cliff as a remembrance if that would have been me.

 

 

Chad

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These are wild hornets. They build their nests on the ground. You probably stepped on or near the nest.

 

They are way meaner than city hornets. They bite and then avoid being hit and fly around to bite again.

 

I stepped near a nest on a Picket approach. Was sprinting through a bushwack with a 30 pound pack to get away.

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In the medical profession you see people label "allergy" to every reaction they have to a substance.

 

As most of the posts above indicate the epi should be used when the airway is closing or closed and only provides a short duration. It causes relaxation of the smooth muscle by acting on alpha and beta receptors in the bronchial tree.

 

However, if it is your first bee/wasp sting you may only have a small reaction. Subsequent exposures to the same stings in the future may bring on a greater reaction that can be life threatening. If you have been stung multiple times in the past and never had an anaphylactic reaction (ie couldn't breathe) then your probably fine without the epi pen in your arsenal.

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Ditto on the Benadryl, there is some form that is an instant dissolve in your mouth, less mess and smaller than the syrup. My wife has had bad reactions in the past, carries an epi pen on the advice of her doc, but the immediate Benadryl has really mitigated her reactions. She gets stung far more often that I do. I think the reason may be that the doc told her to take Bendryl, grab her epi pen, and go to the nearest fire station to have them monitor her. For some reason she seems to like having a bevy of hunky firefighters hovering over her.

 

For those of us with lesser reactions, the application of a stick type antiperspirant stops the pain, keep rubbing it on for about 10 minutes. I think you want the kind with aluminum in it.

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I'm an emt and had to use epi in the field on a few people. If I saw you and your eye like that I would consider shooting you up.

 

 

Hold on there doc. The two indications for giving epi by EMT's in King County for suspected anaphylaxis are 1) hypotension; or 2) airway compromise. Local swelling post sting is rather common and non-life-threatening. As has been said, benedryl is probably the best thing to take.

 

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Fun insect facts:

 

Bees and hornets don't bite you. They sting by injecting venom from a modified ovipositor (egg laying tube) on their abdomens (butts).

 

Bees (honey, bumblebee) have barbs in their stingers, so after they inject venom in you their abdomen is ripped apart. They die shortly afterward. Bees use their sting as a last resort defense. Away from their nest, they will only sting you if you step or sit on them. They will defend their next like kamikazes. Bees eat nectar in flowers. Pollen rides on their legs and backs from flower to flower to fertilize them. They don't eat or collect pollen.

 

Wasps (locals include white-faced hornets and yellow jackets) do not have barbs and can use their stingers to hunt insects and other small prey. They are scavengers who love summer picnics. They do not die after they sting you and can sting repeatedly. They are often more aggressive than bees.

 

Wasp colonies generally grow in size throughout the summer, peaking in September. This is why you're more likely to get stung in August than June.

 

Not all bees and wasps live in colonies. Not all bees and wasps can sting.

 

My dad studied bees. As a youth I went on a few collecting trips, moved some African bee hives, etc.

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If you get stung by a bee you may see something on your skin at the site. DON'T squeeze it as it may be a poison sac. Scrape it off with a knife or fingernail to minimize the chance extra venom will be injected into you.

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712Beesting.JPG

Ah, the pickets.

Bees love to sting me. 2x on one trip in different geographical areas

@ Queen Anne got one on the tip of my tongue, dangerous

The worst sting I ever had was from a huge bumble bee about 3 months ago on the leg. Brutally painful for a week.

Edited by wayne1112

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