May 26, 2021

Bee Sting Allergy Awareness Day

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Bringing Awareness to the 7% of Americans with Severe Bee Sting Allergies4

16M

Americans Are

living with a potentially life-threatening bee sting allergy.1

220K

ER Visits

occur each year for bee sting allergy-related anaphylaxis.2

60

Deaths Per Year

are directly related to severe bee sting reactions.2

Why Raise Awareness About Bee Sting Allergies?

Bee Sting Allergies Are Too Easily Dismissed

16 million Americans are living with potentially life-threatening bee sting allergies.1 Even though most people know someone with a bee sting allergy, the seriousness is under-communicated. Don’t dismiss the signs of a moderate or severe reaction. It only takes a few minutes for the body to enter anaphylaxis after a sting: a deadly allergic response that takes 60 lives per year.2 This is why we are raising awareness about bee sting allergies.

Treatment Options Are Not Common Knowledge

Epinephrine auto-injectors are the most commonly prescribed treatment following an allergic reaction. Recent data suggests 40% of patients receiving emergency medical care for bee stings are not referred to an allergist. Most of those patients are never informed of venom immunotherapy, a highly-effective, preventative treatment. Everyone deserves to know all their treatment options.

A Bee Sting Allergy Can Feel Isolating

A bee sting allergy can make venturing outside difficult. It can disrupt work and life-long hobbies. It can add fear to typical childhood experiences like summer camp and playing in the backyard. But please know that if you have a bee sting allergy, you are not alone. By raising awareness, we hope to make it easier to share your story, find connection, and gain support.
Share my story

Share Your Story

Do you have a bee sting allergy? Share your story! Let others know what to look out for, the preventative steps you take, and how you’ve found comfort outdoors.

Bee Sting Allergy FAQ

An allergic reaction is a bodily response to a foreign substance. In most cases, this reaction is comprised of minor or moderate symptoms. Examples of these inconvenient symptoms are itchy or watery eyes, a runny nose, or a rash. 

Sometimes, a bee sting results in a serious and even deadly reaction. In the medical community, this type of severe reaction is called anaphylaxis. Anaphylactic symptoms include:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Hives or swelling
  • Tightness of the throat
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting
  • Low blood pressure
  • Rapid heart beat
  • Cardiac arrest

Your immune system makes proteins called “antibodies” to fight off bad viruses. There are two types of antibodies involved in bee sting allergic reactions: IgE and IgG. 

IgE antibodies recognize foreign substances, like bee venom, as an attack. When a large amount of venom is introduced to the body, these IgE antibodies may get out of control. This results in a severe reaction.
IgG antibodies respond differently to foreign substances. Instead of attacking, they bind to foreign venom proteins. Then, the antibodies tell the immune system to not respond. Research shows allergy shots stimulate the immune system to make these protective IgG antibodies.

The only way to know if you have a bee sting allergy is to speak with a local allergist. You should do this if you:

  • suspect you have an allergy
  • have experienced severe symptoms after a sting
  • have experienced symptoms throughout your whole body after a sting
  • have any concerns and or questions that a medical professional can answer

Your allergist may recommend testing, a safe way to confirm your allergy and make treatment suggestions.

There are two common options for treating bee sting allergies: reactive and proactive.

Reactive: Most often, bee sting allergy patients are prescribed an epinephrine pen. In an emergency, this tool injects epinephrine into the bloodstream to reverse life-threatening allergic reactions. It can help stop the airway swelling and increase low blood pressure. One epinephrine pen may not be enough to stop anaphylaxis, though. Two pens should be carried at all times and immediate medical attention is required after use.

Proactive: Venom immunotherapy is a preventative treatment option for bee sting allergies. Over time, immunity is acquired through allergy shots. Ultimately, venom immunotherapy is 98% effective in preventing systemic allergic reactions to insect stings.3 Once you’re protected, you have an excellent chance of preventing a life-threatening emergency before it happens.

2600 BC

First Notable Bee Sting Death

Pharaoh Menes dies after suffering an anaphylactic reaction to a wasp sting.

2600 BC

1800-1900s

Making Headlines

Detailed descriptions of honey bee stings started to appear in publications describing what is now referred to as anaphylaxis.

1800-1900s

1901

Discovery of Adrenaline

Japanese biochemist Jokichi Takamine announced his discovery of adrenaline, now knowns as epinephrine.

1901

1913

New Terminology

French physiologist Charles Richet was awarded the Nobel Prize for describing and naming anaphylaxis.

1913

1925

Venom Immunotherapy

The first description of venom immunotherapy is published. The process used whole insect bodies and desensitized one patient.

1925

1960s

Increased Reactions

Anaphylaxis rates begin to climb. Reactions are occurring outside of a clinical setting and to substances other than medicine

1960s

1970s

New Technology

The first purified venoms for desensitization are developed.

1970s

1974

Immunotherapy Success

Publication reports a successful case of immunotherapy using purified bee venom to treat a 4-year-old child with a honey bee venom allergy.

1974

1987

Reactive Treatment

FDA approved Kaplan’s EpiPen®, the first modern epinephrine auto-injector.

1987

2013

Public Access

President Obama signed the School Access to Emergency Epinephrine Act, which provides financial incentives to schools that keep epinephrine auto-injectors on hand.

2013

Help Raise Awareness on Social Media

Download our free Social Media Toolkit, full of images, videos, and statistics for you to post online.

4 EASY WAYS TO HELP RAISE AWARENESS

  1. Post on Social Media: Use our social media toolkit or create your own post about bee sting allergies. Link to one of our helpful articles!
  2. Talk to a Friend: Do you know someone with a bee sting allergy? Check in with them! If they need an allergist, help them find a local provider.
  3. Inform Your Community: Are you in the medical field? We offer FREE patient education handouts, printed and shipped to you. Make a request!
  4. Share Your Story: Do you have a bee sting allergy? Share your story with us! You may be featured on our website or social media accounts.

Learn More with Helpful Articles

Child on shoulders of father

What is Venom
Immunotherapy?

Venom immunotherapy is a highly effective treatment for bee sting allergies. Learn why and how it works.

Child allergic reaction

Signs of a Bee Sting
Allergic Reaction

Learn to recognize the symptoms of bee sting allergic reactions. That way, you’re never taken off guard.

Closeup of wasp nest

Staying Safe: How to Prevent Wasp Nests

Don’t share your home with wasps. Use these six easy methods to prevent wasp nests instead.
The Basics of Bee Sting Allergy Testing

The Basics of Bee Sting Allergy Testing

Learn the basics of bee sting allergy testing! After reading, you’ll feel ready to contact an allergist.
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