Bee Sting Allergy or Coincidental Flu?
July 14, 2007 9:57 PM   Subscribe

I need inside information from the "hive" mind. Did a bee sting give me flu-like symptoms, or did I just get an unrelated virus on the same day as the sting? More inside:

I got stung by a bee on the bottom of my foot around noon a few days ago. Didn't have much of a reaction at first, not much swelling, and only minor pain.

That night I woke up around 3am with the chills. The whole next day I felt horrible, like I had the flu or something -- bad headache, fever, chills, aches and pains all over the body. Took a nap when I got home from work, and woke up around 9pm in a cold sweat -- my fever had broken and most of my aches were gone.

Next day, most of my flu-like symptoms are gone. But my middle toe is red and very swollen around the area of the sting. It's not especially painful, but it's itchy and uncomfortable -- it feels like it's going to pop when I step on it (you know that feeling when you wrap a rubber band around your thumb?).

If any of this persists I'll be sure to see a doctor, but I thought I'd check on everyone's experience (don't want to say 'hive mind,' it brings back bad memories):

1.) Can a bee sting allergy cause these flu-like symptoms? Or is it just a coincidence that I happened to get some 24-hour virus the day after a bee sting? (I'm not aware of being in contact with anyone sick recently, but of course there's no way to be 100% sure).

2.) Regarding the foot, is it normal for the swelling/redness to not manifest until 24+ hours after the sting? How long can I expect the swelling to last, and at what point should I seek medical attention?

I don't have any history of allergies, but there's not much to go on--I have only been stung once before, by a hornet, over 20 years ago when I was a young child. My father has a severe bee sting allergy but I don't recall anything flu-like about it.
posted by Alabaster to Health & Fitness (6 answers total)
IANAD, Alabaster, but I am slightly allergic to bees and their more evil brethren. Every time I have been stung I've had a similar response. Fever, aches, swelling beyond what is normal. Give your doc a call and let her/him check you out. With your family history, you can never be too careful. Heck, you might (read:should?) even want to ask your doc about an epi-pen.

I developed a shellfish allergy in my late twenties, though my brother has been severely allergic his whole life. For whatever that is worth.

Good luck!
posted by metasav at 10:13 PM on July 14, 2007

It definitely could be an allergic reaction. Did you take a Benadryl while it was going on?
posted by Iamtherealme at 10:15 PM on July 14, 2007

It's also possible that the sting got infected. Bees are not in the habit of sterilizing their stings just before they use them.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 11:30 PM on July 14, 2007 [1 favorite]

Yep, sounds like you're allergic. Me too.

Go to the doctor. If you have benadryl around that you can take, I might pop one of those in the meantime & see if it helps.
posted by miss lynnster at 12:18 AM on July 15, 2007

For what it's worth, you should get a tetanus shot if it's been a while since your last one.
posted by hot soup girl at 6:45 AM on July 15, 2007

When I was younger, I used to have an almost identical allergic reaction to bee and yellow jacket stings. It was never life threatening, but I did get really unpleasantly ill for a few days. I always took Benadryl, and usually felt back to normal the third or fourth day after a sting.
posted by solipsophistocracy at 11:02 AM on July 15, 2007

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