How Can You Tell Whether Your Child Is Allergic To Bees?
Recent news of the decline in pollinators, particularly bee colonies, and the potentially disastrous effect on worldwide crop production may have you giving bees a wider berth than usual to avoid inadvertently harming one (and being stung in the process). However, if you have a healthy bee colony nearby and a young child who hasn't yet been exposed to a bee sting, you may be reluctant to allow your child to walk around outside without heavy supervision for fear that he or she will be stung and go into anaphylactic shock. Read on to learn more about determining whether your child has an allergic reaction to bee venom and what you can do to minimize the risk of an allergic reaction if he or she is inadvertently stung.
How can you tell whether your child has a bee allergy?
Many allergies won't present themselves until an initial exposure -- so, short of allergy testing, it can be difficult to determine whether your child is allergic to bees until he or she is stung by one. However, if you or your child's other parent has an allergy to stinging insects, it's slightly more likely that your child deals with the same affliction. In this situation, it can be prudent to keep an emergency epinephrine pen on hand in the event your child is exposed to a bee sting and has an immediate and severe reaction.If you want to get your child allergy tested, check out a site like http://www.oakbrookallergists.com.
When it comes to bee stings, avoiding exposure is key. There are a number of plants and herbs (including lemongrass) that act as bee deterrents, helping shoo them away from your home without causing them any harm. If you do discover a colony of bees on your property, you can contact your local apiary or department of natural resources to enlist the help of a specialist who can relocate these bees to a new home.
What should you do if your child is stung by a bee and is found to be allergic?
Most anaphylactic allergies will become apparent just moments after a bee sting, with your child displaying labored breathing, blue lips, or cherry-red hives covering his or her body. Less deadly (although still serious) allergies may come in the form of swelling or intense, stabbing pain surrounding the sting site. Even if swelling or a rash isn't present, it's worth keeping a careful eye on your child overnight if he or she suffers his or her first bee sting and seems to be dealing with a disproportionate amount of pain, as this could indicate a delayed allergic reaction that could worsen over time.
If your child is suffering from an anaphylactic reaction to the bee sting, you should immediately call 911 or make arrangements to get to the nearest emergency room. Because this type of reaction can completely restrict the airway, it's important to get help as quickly as possible to minimize the amount of time your child is without (or with limited) oxygen. Remaining on the phone with a 911 operator throughout this process can help you get the medical instructions you may need to perform an emergency tracheotomy and CPR to keep your child breathing until help arrives.
If your child is breathing normally but dealing with a lot of pain or swelling, you'll want to visit your nearest urgent care facility or emergency room as soon as possible to minimize discomfort and ensure that this reaction doesn't suddenly worsen. Your child may be given a lower dose of epinephrine or steroids to reduce swelling quickly, then sent home with an emergency dose of epinephrine to use if further exposure to bee stings leads to an even worse reaction.