Stinging insects are in full swing this month. I found out the hard way in July. Minding my own business, playing with the dogs in the creek of the beautiful NC mountains, I walked through a stirred-up nest of yellow jackets. I remember (as they were attacking me) thinking they were smaller than I expected and swatted down the aggressor (which I know is a mistake - it increases the venom injected). I did the crazy person dance, said a few nasty words, and then promptly pulled a hamstring running away.
After the first couple of stings, I did not know if more were coming, so I jumped into the creek. Within moments, my hand started swelling. Now soaking wet and limping, I gathered my belongings and got out of the area as fast as possible.
By the time I arrived home, all of the stings were swelling and then my throat started itching. The anaphylactic response had started. The publicized "doom and gloom" thoughts started and I knew I was in trouble. Luckily my mother had an epi-pen, highly expired, but it was the only option. She slammed into my leg (didn't notice it) and then waited. The nausea started but the throat stopped closing. The shivers started and then the hives. The hives started as little red spots on my leg at the site of the stings. But within hours there were so many hives they all blended together. I later realized that epi-pens have a preservative in them that I am allergic to as well as the stings, but it is the lesser of two evils when faced with an anaphylactic attack.
After more than 45 minutes my father was able to take me to urgent care. 48 hours of bed rest later, a ton of antihistamines, and my favorite topical APR spray on the stings I was recovering. Unfortunately, the hamstring tear was worse than I thought - 2 locations and a bruise the size of a grapefruit. It is on the mend now (a mere 20 days later). Going forward, I have the pleasure of carrying more epi-pens and avoiding these nasty little creatures for the rest of my life! Stay away little stingers!