Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"How can I know if I'm allergic to bees?"
I'm going on a very long hiking trip and I've always worried that I'm allergic to bees. I'm a 28 year old female and I know this is kind of irrational, but I don't want to be stuck in the middle of nowhere without any access to help if I'm allergic.
The first question to ask about an allergy to bees is if you have any other allergies or reason to suspect that you might be allergic to bees? Have you ever been stung by a bee before (if so, and you had no reaction, you are likely to be safe at this time)? Have you ever had any reaction to anything else in the past? If the answer to the above is all no, then you are likely safe to go and enjoy your trip without worrying, aware that you are more likely to have a serious car accident than you are to die of a bee sting. It is worth noting, however, that there is no fail-safe way to know that you are not allergic to bees. In fact, about half of all people who die from bee stings (which, admittedly, is only a very small number, somewhere less than 100 per year in the US) did not know that they were allergic to the sting. Since you can't avoid the chance that you might be stung, you can either plan ahead (if your family is notable for serious allergies) by talking to your primary care doctor about preventive measures if you feel the need. In the event of a sting, please remove the stinger immediately and seek help as needed.
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