Should Beekeepers Have an EpiPen?

epipen for bee stings

Beekeepers are no strangers to bee stings.  Bee stings can be dangerous for those with known allergies, but also for those that have an allergy that they don’t know about yet. Keeping an EpiPen close by can help prevent a bee sting from turning life threatening. 

Beekeepers should have an EpiPen, in case a bee stings them. However, an EpiPen isn’t just a lifesaving measure in the event that a beekeeper gets stung, but also in case anyone nearby gets stung. An EpiPen will prevent an allergic reaction from becoming life threatening. 

If you’re a beekeeper and are questioning whether you should keep an EpiPen at your side, then keep reading. Stick around for more information on exactly why beekeepers should have an EpiPen.

Should Bee Keepers have an EpiPen?

An EpiPen administration can reduce any allergy related symptoms. Difficulty breathing is one of the more serious of these symptoms. As a beekeeper, you should get an EpiPen handy at all times. 

Even if you’re not allergic to bees yourself, the EpiPen will potentially save someone else’s life. It’s also worth noting that bee allergies can develop over time.

Making sure an unexpired EpiPen is on your person at all times is imperative. Even if you’re not in close proximity to the hives, being anywhere in, the vicinity poses a risk of getting stung. 

An EpiPen contains an administrable dosage of epinephrine that you can use in severe allergic reactions. Obtaining one from a doctor is the best way to ensure the EpiPen is the proper size and strength.

EpiPen Alternatives for Beekeepers to Have on Hand

EpiPens are the quickest, and most effective for severe allergic reactions. While having one on hand is a great idea in theory, it’s not exactly financially possible for all beekeepers. EpiPens are incredibly expensive, and they don’t have a very long shelf life.

Thankfully, antihistamines are also effective in thwarting a major allergic reaction. For those with severe allergies, antihistamines can usually buy enough time to get you, or the other person that’s been stung, the medical attention that’s needed. 

If you don’t have a known bee allergy that’s severe, an EpiPen might not be necessary. It’s something you would need to discuss with your doctor. 

Knowing when to use the EpiPen is crucial to its effectiveness. Administering a dose of epinephrine is dangerous if it’s not necessary. As a beekeeper, you are more than capable of recognizing the signs of a bee sting in yourself. 

However, people do have varying levels of pain and different reactions to stings, so it can be tricky to tell if someone else has been stung. If you suspect someone has been stung, check for any of these symptoms of an allergic reaction:

  • Pain or obvious feeling of being stung
  • Evidence of a stinger left in the skin
  • Sudden development of a dry and itchy mouth and/or throat
  • Lightheadedness, feeling faint
  • Clogged sinuses
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Itching or pain near the site of the sting
  • Rash or swelling on or around the sting itself
  • Swallowing takes effort
  • Disorientation

Bee Sting Kit

Tip: always have a bee sting kit like this one to hand. (Amazon) They include a pump device that’s useful for extracting venom, plus other useful first aid supplies to soothe stings and bites. 

How Should Beekeepers Administer EpiPen

You can administer the EpiPen directly into the skin or muscle of your exterior thighs. But, if you are in a rush due to an emergency, you can inject through your clothing. All that matters, is you get the medication into your system.

For beekeepers, this can be a bit more challenging. The added layer that a beekeepers’ suit provides can be a bit of a roadblock. If at all possible, remove the suit before using the EpiPen. If that’s not an option, it’s probably easier to have someone else administer the shot, so they have a better chance of getting through all of the layers.

You can also get the epinephrine in through your veins. If you intend to get it infused through this means, then you should seek expert help. Only health workers are authorized to go through this means.

Steps for Beekeepers take when Administering the EpiPen 

As a beekeeper, you should stick to the prescription label and medication guide when using the EpiPen. Check out the steps you should take when using this auto-injector device.

  1. Move to a safe area, away from the bees.
  2. Take off the safety cap by forming a fist around the EpiPen with the pointy tip facing down.
  3. Place the pointy edge against the flesh of your outer thigh. You can also take the injection through your clothing.
  4. Firmly push the EpiPen into your thighs, for you to activate the needle. 
  5. Hold the EpiPen in position for the next ten seconds after you activated the needle.
  6. As you finish, take out the EpiPen and gently massage your thigh.
  7. Carefully re-insert the needle into your carrying tube.
  8. Call 911. Epinephrine speeds up the heart; professional medical help is necessary post-EpiPen.

Keep the EpiPen in its case and with you until medical attention arrives. They will need to know how much epinephrine went into the body, and in the event that it’s yourself and you’ve become unconscious when they arrive, they’ll be able to tell from the EpiPen. 

Things to Note for When Medical Help Arrives

The medical staff will want to know how much of the EpiPen actually made its way into the body, and the pen itself will help with that. They will also have a list of other questions they will ask, so having the answers ready will make the process more efficient. 

Not having the answers to these questions, or delivering inaccurate information, will slow down the process. These answers help the medical professionals choose the correct avenues of treatment, so accuracy is imperative.

As a beekeeper, you should always have a card with their medical history kept with the EpiPen. This is also a good idea to do for anyone else that’s frequently with the bees. If the person needing medical attention doesn’t have a written list of their conditions, ask them to verbally tell you and try to write them down.

Here are some of the medical conditions that are pertinent knowledge to tell the medical professionals:

  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Known allergies of any kind, including medicine
  • Pregnant or breastfeeding
  • Diabetes

What to Expect after the EpiPen is Administered

The EpiPen is an administrable dose of the epinephrine. If you use them constantly, you should expect a few side effects.

Some of the side effects may include:

  • Breathing difficulties
  • Faster than normal heartbeat
  • Skin turns pale 
  • Dizziness
  • Weakness
  • Tremors 
  • Heightened fear or anxiety
  • Headache or migraine
  • Pain sensitivity
  • Redness, swelling, or heat near the injection site

Of course, with any medication, there are always a number of side effects. Side effects aren’t limited to what’s on this list, so noting anything out of the ordinary is important.

Verdict

Beekeepers should have an EpiPen. Especially if there’s a known a bee allergy. Allergic reactions are quite intense and if there is a way you can recuse the severity, then you should jump on it. 

However, excessive use or an overdose of epinephrine can cause a series of illnesses. If you have to take a shot, ensure it is an emergency or as your doctor prescribed.

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