Did you know that bee sting allergies in seniors pose a greater risk for severe complications than in other age groups? If not, you may want to keep reading. While some allergies become less severe, or maybe even go away with age, certain allergies can increase with age, and bee sting allergies are no exception. Now that Spring is in the air, it’s important to realize that any senior is at risk for a severe reaction to a bee sting. Even if they’ve never had problems with bee stings before, it’s possible for allergic reactions to develop in old age. Read along as we provide an overview of symptoms of a severe reaction in the elderly, as well as some tips and tricks for treating and preventing bee sting allergies in seniors.
Symptoms of Severe Allergic Reaction to a Bee Sting
When it comes to reactions to a bee sting, some are normal and some aren’t. It’s important to recognize which symptoms are natural and minor and which ones indicate a severe allergic reaction. Typically, a senior’s reaction to being stung by a bee is nothing to worry about. For example, they may experience minor swelling around the stung area, a red welt, or instant pain at the sting area. This reaction is normal, and symptoms usually last for a day or less. However, some individuals have a reaction that’s more severe, and potentially life-threatening. If a senior gets stung by a bee and experiences any of these symptoms, seek medical attention immediately.
- Difficulty breathing
- Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
- Dizziness and/or fainting
- Swelling of the throat and tongue
- Itchy, red hives on the skin
Most of the time, if addressed right away, severe reactions are treatable. Still, it’s important to take action right away, as it could be a matter of life and death.
Treating Bee Sting Allergies in Seniors
For seniors who have a minor reaction to a sting with mild symptoms, at-home care usually does the trick. It’s suggested that, after being stung, the stinger is removed from the skin right away. In addition, wash the area with soap and water and apply a cold compress if needed. If the stung area is painful, an over the counter pain reliever, like ibuprofen, should suffice. However, for severe allergic reactions, more intense treatment is required. A doctor will typically prescribe a senior an emergency epinephrine autoinjector, like an EpiPen. These tools inject a single dose of emergency medication when pressed against the thigh. If they’re prescribed one, make sure that your senior knows how to use their epinephrine injector. For seniors especially, it may be a good idea to wear a medical ID bracelet that indicates a severe bee sting allergy.
- Don’t wear bright colored clothing, especially red. It can attract bees.
- Wear closed-toed shoes when walking outside.
- Be careful when drinking sweet beverages outside.
- Don’t’ wear loose-fitting clothing, as bees can get trapped between the skin and the cloth.
- When driving, keep the windows up.
- Have hives and nests near the house removed by a professional.
By following these tips, the risk for getting stung by a bee should be much less! However, even when you’re being careful, bees can appear out of nowhere. If a bee is nearby, make sure to stay calm. Slowly walk away from the bees and carry on. Do not swat; this will only aggravate the bee more.
Are there any ways that you prevent bee stings that we didn’t mention? Feel free to let us know in the comments below. We’d love to hear your input!