Beekeeping is a rewarding hobby for all ages, with so many benefits for your taste buds … and the environment! Although, beekeepers are at a higher risk of being stung by a bee; it is a small price to pay when doing the thing they love. In some cases, being stung can cause an allergic reaction or even induce anaphylaxis, which can potentially be life-threatening.
In this blog, we would like to share the importance of wearing a medical bracelet whilst beekeeping and how it may save your life during an emergency.
First things first … what is a medical bracelet?
A medical bracelet is designed to alert others of your medical conditions or any other concerns you might have that may be relevant to your care in an emergency.
Medical alert jewellery is conveniently worn on your pulse points at your wrist and neck. So, when first responders check your pulse, they will automatically find out what conditions you have or what medication you take, and the right treatment can be administered quickly. It’s also a convenient way to pass on the phone number of your loved ones, to keep you in touch with your family.
Why wear a medical bracelet if you are a beekeeper?
Bee stings can induce an anaphylactic shock.
If you have not been stung by a bee before you are unlikely to be allergic to the venom. However, if you have been stung by a bee, there is the potential to develop an allergy. It is unknown why some people become allergic and others don’t, but how often you are stung seems to play a role.
According to beeawareallergy.com, beekeepers receive an average of 58 stings annually. Because they are more likely to be stung, they are more likely to develop an allergy. Some beekeepers will accumulate antibodies to desensitize stings, though this doesn’t happen to everybody. Read more on honeybee stings and allergies.
For some people, this allergy can lead to anaphylactic shock, and it’s essential people know how to help you in this situation, like where to find your EpiPen if you already own one. Having your allergy engraved onto a medical bracelet will make people aware of your condition so that they know how to help you in an emergency situation.
An increased risk of heart attack or stroke.
Beekeeping is a relaxing, nurturing hobby that can be enjoyed for many years. As beekeepers get older, they have an increased risk of a heart attack or a stroke, which can be risky considering this could occur in the apiary. Since others don’t always want to enter the apiary in fear of being stung, it is essential for older beekeepers to have someone with them to keep an eye on things - never bee keep alone.
In addition, if you take antihistamines for bee stings, this could react negatively with any heart medication you take. It is worth engraving this information on your medical bracelet so when paramedics arrive in an emergency, they know what the cause of your unconsciousness is (and not mistake it for an allergic reaction or anaphylaxis), so you can get the right treatment.
Bee suits can make it difficult to be examined.
Wearing protective gear is essential when beekeeping as it helps to prevent bee stings. However, there’s still the possibility of being stung and when this happens, an allergic reaction or an anaphylactic shock can follow. If this happens, it’s best to exit the apiary, move a safe distance away, and remove the suit as quickly as possible before anaphylactic shock can occur. This will make it easier for emergency workers to treat you once they arrive.
It is also worth considering wearing your medical bracelet on the outside of your bee suit as a cuff bracelet, a necklace, or as a sewn-on patch. This will make it easier for medical workers to read and treat you without any hassle.
What should I engrave on my medical bracelet?
You may wish to include your name, your current medical conditions, any allergies you may have, details of any medication you are taking, and your emergency contact details. If you are at risk of a heart attack or stroke, including this on your bracelet will allow medical staff to see this, and give you the best form of treatment.
If you don’t want to include too many personal details, you can choose a more subtle medical bracelet. This can have your current medical status, with words such as ‘Bee Sting Allergy’, ‘Anaphylaxis’ or ‘At Risk of Stroke’. These words become your voice in a time of need and will help to make sure you are treated quickly.
We also recommend that all medical bracelets or necklaces include a medical symbol. These symbols are easily recognisable, which alerts those around you to information about your medical condition in an emergency. Medical staff are also trained to look out for medical symbols, as this helps them to understand the treatment you need.
Where to go for more support?
If you’re allergic to bee stings, you may feel the need to stop your hobby, but with the right management you can still enjoy what you love.
Beekeeping has its own community of avid bee lovers and due to this reason, it is important to get in touch or join a forum if you are just starting out as a reminder you’re not alone.
Beekeepingforum.co.uk is a community forum that shares others experiences and questions, which can be handy if you are going through allergy concerns. Roy shares his experience with anaphylaxis and what he has done to prevent it from happening again.
For more information about what to expect in the event of anaphylaxis, betterhealth.vic.gov.au discusses the risk of losing consciousness during a severe reaction, and a bracelet can help quickly communicate that it is an anaphylactic reaction.
The Facebook group for Anaphylaxis Campaign posts links to join virtual support groups including how to prepare for major holidays. You can email firstname.lastname@example.org for further information if you wish to attend. They also include regional groups so you have the chance to arrange in-person support if you wish.
Bee craft explains in more detail about bee stings and anaphylaxis, including treatment options.
For anaphylaxis support, check out the Anaphylaxis Campaign.
So, if you have an allergic reaction to bee stings, wearing a medical alert bracelet can allow you to enjoy your hobby and feel like yourself again. You can choose your own style, design and engraving and let others know how to help you in an emergency. Equally, friends and family members are reassured by the fact that you have extra protection and they can keep in contact with you. Have a browse of our full range of medical jewellery.
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