Local allergist has strategies for bee sting season

Dr. Todd Mahr, a local pediatric allergist with Gundersen Health System, told News 8 that bee stings become more common during this time of the year, and he has advice for keeping yourself safe.

Mahr said that about 1 in 10 people have severe reactions to bee stings, including large swelling or worse.

If you are having a bad reaction to a sting, Mahr said first aid includes ice, antihistamines and using a credit card to scrape away the stinger instead of squeezing it. He said if you squeeze the stinger while trying to remove it with your fingers or tweezers, it could cause it to release more of the bee’s venom.

If you experience symptoms of anaphylactic shock such as swelling of the lips and tongue, trouble breathing and swallowing or feeling faint, Mahr said to notify someone, use an epinephrine shot if you have one, visit an emergency center and then visit an allergist like him for a follow up.

“If you’ve had that severe reaction, we as allergists would like to see you, because what we can do is double check, make sure what you’ve had is a true allergic reaction. And if need be, then we can put you on allergy immunotherapy. That’s allergy shots, basically, to venom to desensitize you, so the next time you get stung, you don’t have, ideally, as bad [of] a reaction.”

Mahr said not wearing bright colors, avoiding areas with bees and not disrupting hives can help you avoid getting stung.