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  1. #1
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    Yellow Jackets - Long Post

    Some background info. About 10 years ago I was stung 30 times by Yellow Jackets on a ride and had to go to an ER because of swelling. The Doc said I should carry and Epi because future incidents could result in a allergic reaction. Before this never any reaction to a sting.

    Over the time since that incident whenever I get stung the next day I have tremendous swelling in the area that will last for around 10 days. Has kept me out of work for a day or 2 if stung on the ankle or lower leg due to the swelling. Cannot usually get a shoe on for a couple of days.

    On this past Sunday was stung 4 times cutting grass and currently have some major swelling going on. First thing in the morning swelling is at its best and today I decided to get in a short ride. Halfway into the ride I got stung on my upper chest. Continued with my ride and about 5 minutes later my whole body started to tingle and had tunnel vision. My vision kept getting worse with what looked like a small window I was looking through with darkness all around. Then it became very difficult to breathe and I was on the verge of blacking out several times. Really thought I was done for, felt like I was drifting off to sleep. Somehow got to the car and to a Doctor. Within 15 minutes of treatment all symptons were gone except swelling. Will be picking up a script for Epi's today!

    The question is what do you use to keep from getting stung? I bought some Burts Bees insect repellent yesterday but obviously did not work. Usually have been using some repellent with Deet but that seems not work against Yellow Jackets.

  2. #2
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    Hopefully you learned your lesson to go against medical advice and will actually carry your Epi Pens with you.

    Honestly, there really is nothing you can do to avoid getting stung except to avoid the insects all together (which, as a mountain biker is hard to do).

    So, be vigilant, carry your Epi Pen, notify those you ride with (and tell them where the pen is), and get yourself a RoadID with allergy info on it.
    You have to earn your downs...

  3. #3
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    It sounds to me that your body is really starting to have problems with the number of stings you have gotten just like mine did when I was little. Bees nearly killed me when I was about 4, or 5. For about 10 years after that I had the pleasure of getting immunotherapy shots once a week in the hopes that my body would slowly build a tolerance to bee venom. It seems to have worked, but I still get lots of swelling when stung.

    I don't know that there's a lot to be done to avoid getting stung other than just being ever vigilant and watching out for them. Were I you, I would definitely keep epi's around just to be safe, and take Benadryl when you're having symptoms from getting stung to help with the reactions.
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  4. #4
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    Citronella is a natural deterrent although not fool proof.

  5. #5
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    I'd just bite the bullet and wear long pants and a long-sleeved jersey. The more you cover up and the less you open clothing up for wasps to get in the less likely you'll get stung. You'll be warmer but there are high-tech clothing options that won't necessarily cook you. Add gloves, long socks and maybe a bandanna and most of your body ends up being covered.
    Good luck!

  6. #6
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    Yellow Jackets - Long Post

    I got attacked by yellow jackets about 15 years ago. Exploring a brand new trail and it just ends. So I stop and look around, wondering why the trail just stopped . That's when they started stinging me. I threw my bike down so fast my foot came out of my shoe, which was still clipped onto my bike. Ran away swatting and swearing. Then I had to go back and get my bike (and shoe). And I got stung one more time for good measure. I tried to mentally block the pain and keep riding, but it wasn't gonna happen. Went home and started getting itchy armpits so I went to the ER.

    It was definitely my easiest ER trip. I walked in and told them I got stung, the nurse screamed BEE STING, and I was in a wheelchair in seconds. Pumped full of something in a few seconds more. Doc thought I was stung 50 times, but most we're just some kind of allergy spots that appeared on my back. When I got home I counted about a dozen all around my ankles. And one on the back, that was the bastard that got me when I went back for my bike.

    I've been stung probably 5 or 6 times since and I don't get any unusual reactions. An epipen might be good idea though, at least when I'm doing trail work, that's when I usually get stung.



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  7. #7
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    I was stung so many times as a kid I think I've built up an immunity. Funny you posted this because Sunday I was on a ride and came upon a fresh bee hive built into the dirt right on the trail. I saw new because I rode this trail last week and it wasn't there. The hive consisted of perfectly drilled holes almost the size of a dime that stretched down the trail about 20'. The bees were kind enough to let me stand on top of the hive and amongst the swarm without them stinging me. The incident is in the very beginning of this video.

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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by DIRTJUNKIE View Post
    I was stung so many times as a kid I think I've built up an immunity. Funny you posted this because Sunday I was on a ride and came upon a fresh bee hive built into the dirt right on the trail. I saw new because I rode this trail last week and it wasn't there. The hive consisted of perfectly drilled holes almost the size of a dime that stretched down the trail about 20'. The bees were kind enough to let me stand on top of the hive and amongst the swarm without them stinging me. The incident is in the very beginning of this video.

    That would have ended my ride right there!

    Went to get the Epi Pen today and it was $376.00 each with my insurance. Unfortunately I do not have the cash for it, they are looking for a generic they think they can get for $15. Until then I cannot even think going outside, wont even check the mail.

  9. #9
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    Been stung plenty of times in my life. Last year during the first lap of an 18 hour race, I got stuck by yellow jackets in the last mile. 10 minutes later I had a bad reaction (racing heart, dizzy, itchy hands..thought i was having a heart attack!) had to have the medic administer an epipen and head to the ER. You can become allergic at anytime. I now carry a pen plus Benadryl; doc said try 2 Benedryl first and if reaction gets bad then use the pen. I got stung last week on a road ride and took the 2 Benadryl; reaction happened but not severe enough to use pen.

    Edit: they make Benadryl in a liquid ampule that you open and drink - its for kids, but you just use several to get the adult dose..good if you are having swollen throat issues.
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by DIRTJUNKIE View Post
    I was stung so many times as a kid I think I've built up an immunity.
    Be careful. I've always been told that the more you get stung, the higher your likelihood of having a reaction. I, too, was stung a LOT as a very small kid. Everybody's constitution is different, but this is one of those life altering things for me that I wouldn't wish upon anybody.
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  11. #11
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    I've gotten stung once, was in a truck that it had flown into and it had set down near the seatbelt and I had my arm over that area, it didn't like being squeezed so it stung me. That was at least 20 years ago now. I've seen yellow jackets lots of times, seen nests, killed them around the house, heard about people on trails being attacked just a few min before, and so on, but I've never been stung by a bee or any other wasps except for that one time. What are you doing to get stung so much? I've also lived and done a lot of outdoors stuff in the OK/TX area, AZ, CA and AK and none of those areas had any problems. It seems odd you'd be stung so many times. Maybe moving is something to consider, rather than playing with fire and possibly not being able to get to epinephrine.
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  12. #12
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    Stung by one sweat bee when I was a pre-teen, and 10-15 times in my right hand as a teen when I placed my hand right on a wasp nest I didn't see while moving firewood. Haven't been stung since, except for mosquitos. Litte bastard sh!t-5uckers, those things are.

  13. #13
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    Re: Yellow Jackets - Long Post

    Quote Originally Posted by J. Fragera View Post
    Be careful. I've always been told that the more you get stung, the higher your likelihood of having a reaction. I, too, was stung a LOT as a very small kid. Everybody's constitution is different, but this is one of those life altering things for me that I wouldn't wish upon anybody.
    Read my post....you can become allergic at anytime.
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  14. #14
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    Helmets with bug mesh in the front vents helps. I also wear 3/4 length sleeved/crew neck jerseys most of the time to keep them out of my shirt. Still managed to get stung 3 or 4 times last year. I also have a pretty severe reaction to stings, often needing a steriod injection and/or "dose pack" to knock down the swelling and redness. Fricken' hate yellow jackets!

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveF View Post
    Helmets with bug mesh in the front vents helps. I also wear 3/4 length sleeved/crew neck jerseys most of the time to keep them out of my shirt. Still managed to get stung 3 or 4 times last year. I also have a pretty severe reaction to stings, often needing a steriod injection and/or "dose pack" to knock down the swelling and redness. Fricken' hate yellow jackets!
    This was also my typical reaction. But this last one was anaphylactic shock and almost did not make it. Recommend having a check to make sure you are not at risk.

  16. #16
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    Re: Yellow Jackets - Long Post

    Yeah I've been stung once my whole life by a nearly dead honey bee when I was a kid. My worse fear is coming up on a bee hive. It's up there with falling on top of snakes.

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  17. #17
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    Carry antihistamines (benadryl) with you if you're not going to have an epi pen; it's better than nothing for an allergic reaction.

    No way to prevent them other than avoiding them. Stings happen.

  18. #18
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    got stung in the back of the mouth on a ride. had to be a bee, as it was furry

    things got weird and painful (bizzare headache, like head was in vice) but kept going
    and it settled down.

    I do not recommend it

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flucod View Post
    This was also my typical reaction. But this last one was anaphylactic shock and almost did not make it. Recommend having a check to make sure you are not at risk.
    I am at risk-the doctor made that point the last time I went in for this. I should probably carry benadryl at the least...

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by TiGeo View Post
    Read my post....you can become allergic at anytime.
    Technically, anything ranging from a minor red welt to anaphylaxis is considered an allergic reaction. It's just differing degrees of severity. So you can be (and probably are) allergic at any time. According to my Allergist and other physicians that I have worked with, the chances for a more severe reactions occur when you accrue more and more stings. This doesn't account for the differences in venom toxicity from one species to the next, but since I still live in the same area with the same species range of bees, I steer way clear of local yellow jackets since that is what put me in anaphylactic shock when I was a kid.

    My main point, while you might have never gotten stung in your life, it's still a good idea to keep emergency items (epi's and Benadryl) around just to be safe as it's possible you can have a severe reaction, but if you are one that has been stung quite often, I'd almost say it's fairly mandatory as the likelihood of a severe reaction is higher based on the information the physicians I have spoken to in the past have given me.

    I should have specified a bit more in the post you quoted, but I was on a tablet, and typing on those things sucks.
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  21. #21
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    I do get severe swelling but it takes about 3 hours to start. Thanks for the reminder, I will buy that liquid Benadryl.
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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    ...What are you doing to get stung so much?...It seems odd you'd be stung so many times. ....
    I did think that the frequency of stings was unusual until so many others chimed in as well.

    I think I've been stung 2 or 3 times in my whole life, while the number of stings on people around me have been dozens of times in that same period. I even had a yellow jacket inside my motorcycle helmet that I was able to pull off the road and remove before it stung me (~10 seconds). I exterminated a yellow jacket nest in my bathroom ceiling - I can't believe I didn't get stung that time.

    I think some people just give off a scent or something that attracts or aggravates bees/wasps/hornets. My wife and daughter get swarmed by mosquitos while I am standing right next to them completely unbothered. I felt bad when she was a baby because I was pushing her in the stroller one time she had mosquitos all over her and I didn't know it. I wasn't even aware that they were out.

    Maybe increased beer intake resists some insects. (only half-joking)

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  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Learux View Post
    I do get severe swelling but it takes about 3 hours to start. Thanks for the reminder, I will buy that liquid Benadryl.
    If you go into shock Benadryl is no help, only an Epi will work. If you are out farther then 5 minutes it could be over.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flucod View Post
    That would have ended my ride right there!

    Went to get the Epi Pen today and it was $376.00 each with my insurance. Unfortunately I do not have the cash for it, they are looking for a generic they think they can get for $15. Until then I cannot even think going outside, wont even check the mail.
    You can mail-order a two-pack of Epi pens from Canada for less than half the US price (about $130). You still need a prescription to have them fill your order. You also need to be aware that importing prescription drugs, even for your own use, is strictly speaking not legal but US customs is selectively not enforcing (except for narcotics, of course). You need to do a bit of research and find a legitimate Canadian pharmacy that will ship to the US. My elderly widowed neighbor gets her numerous prescription drugs this way.

    The US maker of Epi Pens is also running a promo where you can get $100 off if you have insurance or pay cash: https://activatemysavings.com/epipen/

    Lastly, if you really can't afford them then maybe you can find someone who keeps them around and ask them to give you their expired one when they replace it after a year. I assume using a 6 month expired Epi pen is better than not having one at all when you are about to go into anaphylactic shock.

    Good luck!

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    What are you doing to get stung so much?
    Trailwork. I usually try to run away when I hear buzzing, but we also have lots of deer flies which constantly buzz around your head, so after a while you get used to hearing buzzing all around you and I drop my guard, that's when they get you.
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