Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Wasps and Bees and Hornets, oh MY!

If you haven't noticed the increased activity in the Hymenoptera order this spring, give it time! Just like every spring, the first child's scream of, "A BEE!!!!" is usually followed by, "Just leave it alone. If you don't bother it, it won't bother you..."

Sometimes that is easier said than done! I think I've been stung by a wasp once in my adult life (and once as a child). I remember doing something in the flower bed, perhaps weeding, when I got stung on a finger. It hurt. It's definitely not fun! Last summer, we had some giant bushes in front of our house and there was at least one wasp's nest in it. My daughter got stung once. She survived and it was no big deal.

But last week, my son was weeding at his father's house when he got stung by what he described as a hornet. No big deal...he was fine. Then two days later, he woke up to this:

Of course, we had no Benedryl in the house, so I quickly went to the store to get some, just to make sure that the reaction would not affect his breathing. I put a cold pack on it, and waited. He said it hurt pretty bad. I checked after a while, and even with the cold pack on it, it still felt warm to the touch. I got online, and learned that this was a reaction, but not severe. A severe reaction would affect the airway, and I felt pretty comfortable that if it was going to affect the airway, it would have already done so. Another doctor visit avoided!!

I also learned, however, that each sting in the future could produce a worse reaction. I've seen what ant bites do to him, and now what hornet stings do, and I'm thinking about asking for an epi-pen the next time we go to the doctor for something. I can't remember when he was last AT the doctor, but maybe he'll get sick this summer and need to be seen. (Hope not!)

Anyway, I just wanted to share what a frightening reaction can look like so that if your child gets stung, know that it can look pretty bad without being life threatening. And just a reminder, it's always good to have some Benedryl on hand for allergic reactions this spring and summer. I hate giving my kids medicine, but some things just make common sense!