When you have a bee allergy, being outdoors is always a gamble. Although most bees keep to themselves, you never know when one might get agitated and lash out with its stinger, and that could be fatal if you're deathly allergic. There are many ways you can combat a bee allergy, and here are two that may actually reduce your risk of having an allergic reaction to bee stings.
The first treatment option involves desensitizing the immune system to prevent it from reacting to the toxins introduced into the body by bee stingers. This is done by injecting the person with small amounts of bee venom over a period of time to force the body to produce antibodies that help prevent allergic reactions.
The length of time for this treatment varies, but it can take years for a person to build up a strong enough immunity to bee stings. For instance, venom immunotherapy at one facility involves getting weekly shots for 25 weeks and then switching to monthly shots for the next ten years or more, depending on your medical history and progress.
Be aware, though, that there is a risk of having a reaction to the therapeutic shots. According to some experts, up to 50 percent of patients have reactions during the incremental phase of the treatment. You may have to use corticosteroids or antihistamines to manage these side effects. Some patients have experienced anaphylactic shock, so it's essential that you have epinephrine shots on hand when undergoing the treatment to handle this possibility.
However, venom immunotherapy appears to have a 95-percent success rate, so it may be worth talking to your primary physician about this option.
Another possible treatment for bee allergies is to consume foods and drinks that can help reduce the effect the allergens have on the body. For instance, green tea is a natural antihistamine, while licorice root causes your body to produce steroids that can help fight allergic reactions. Quercetin, a bioflavonoid found in plant foods such as oranges, onions, tomatoes, and broccoli, is another antihistamine that may stop immune cells from producing histamine in reaction to contact with allergens.
These natural remedies are mostly used to minimize the effect of allergic reactions caused by pollen and similar environmental triggers, so the amount you would need to take to protect yourself against bee venom is unknown. One site recommends ingesting 1,000 milligrams a day but, again, this is to combat allergy symptoms such as sneezing and itching. You may need to take more to reduce the affect bee venom has on you.
Again, though, some dietary supplements can cause side effects. Eating too much licorice root, for instance, can raise blood pressure and cause heart-related problems. Green tea has caffeine in it, so it may not be appropriate for people who are sensitive to the substance. High doses of quercetin can cause kidney damage.
It's best to consult with your doctor about these natural options to determine if they will work for you and how much you need to take for it to be effective while remaining safe.
Dealing with a bee allergy can be challenging, but there are treatment options available. While you're researching ways to minimize your allergy, take proper precautions to avoid getting stung. Bees are attracted to scents, so it's best to avoid wearing perfumes that may cause them to think you are a flower. Make sure your body is covered as much as possible when you go outside, and don't sit near food since the smell also attracts these insects.
For more information about possible bee allergy treatments talk to your doctor or an allergy specialist, such as Oak Brook Allergists.