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June 1, 2023

BehindTheMedspeak: What to do if you get attacked by bees


Katie Camero's Washington Post article taught me much that could come in handy one day; it follows.

What To Do If You Get Attacked By Bees? First, Run Away.

Run in a straight line, find an enclosed space and don't jump into water. Here's how to stay safe when a swarm of bees attacks.

A family photo shoot turned into a nightmare when a swarm of bees stung a woman more than 75 times, according to fire officials in the Buckeye Valley region in Arizona.

When the bees attacked, the woman shoved her two children into a car to protect them. She stayed outside and endured multiple stings. She was taken to a hospital and has since recovered. The children were not injured.

The Arizona Fire and Medical Authority said there was a superbloom of flowers in the area at the time of the March 30 attack, and the family didn’t do anything to agitate the bees.

In a video posted to Facebook by the agency, bees can be seen buzzing around as firefighters swat them away and carry the children into their truck. They used F-500 foam typically used to quell fires to calm the bees.

If you find yourself being attacked by bees, especially in late spring as bees become more active, here’s what you should do, experts say.

Is it okay to run away from bees?

If bees are attacking you en masses, they're most likely defending their home. Attacks by swarms of bees are uncommon.

Most bees are not aggressive, said Erika Thompson, a beekeeper with Texas Beeworks. "Bees and other bugs are running out of safe spaces to live and work, so as humans encroach on their environment, these interactions between species are naturally going to increase."

Run to find shelter as fast as you can in a straight line, which will help you travel the greatest distance within a given period of time, said James Nieh, an ecology professor at the University of California at San Diego who studies bee communication and aggression.

Aggressive honey bees can chase you a long distance and reach speeds of up to 20 mph, according to the British Beekeepers Association. But "you can run faster, especially when motivated, than bees can fly after you," Nieh said, because flying in a swarm, as opposed to flying solo, can slow bees.

Should I try swatting the bees away?

No, try to protect your face by shielding your nose, mouth and eyes, Thompson said. That will not only prevent you from flailing your arms, which will aggravate the bees more, but it will also reduce the amount of carbon dioxide you exhale, another bee agitator.

This means you'll want to avoid screaming as well, unless you're doing so to warn others of the attack, said Thompson, a bee expert with millions of followers on social media.

Bees typically target dark spots on the body, such as your mouth, nose and eyes, because those areas are most sensitive and will lead to "the maximum reaction," Nieh said.

This is why you might have heard that wearing black clothing can attract bees. An agitated colony, however, will sting you no matter what color you’re wearing, experts say.

Be careful when covering your eyes while escaping, Nieh said. The last thing you want to do is run blindly and fall. "That's just a recipe for disaster," he said.

Will the bees stop chasing me?

No, try to find a safe and enclosed space such as a building or car with the windows rolled up to separate yourself from the angry swarm, Nieh said. If possible, you can also take this step before attempting to run away.

Avoid trapping yourself in an area with openings that bees can fit through, such as a garden shed or cave, he added. Locking yourself in an unsecure space "is a strategy of last resort," Nieh said.

Should I jump into water if attacked by bees?

Do not jump into a body of water. That not only increases the chances that you will get stung when coming up for air, but also your risk of drowning, experts say.

Angry bees may wait for you to come out and can track you via bubbles of carbon dioxide you might release when underwater, Nieh said.

Panic and adrenaline can also impair your decision-making and breathing, he said, "so you're quite likely to come up more often for breaths than you normally might, which will lead you to get stung."

The scene can be gruesome, Nieh added. "In the cases where people have died," emergency responders "have found bodies filled with bees because they've inhaled bees that have then stung them from the inside," he said.

Should I wait to remove the stingers?

If you can spot the stingers in your skin as you run, try to scrape them off with your fingernails, Nieh said.

The stinger is attached to a tiny sac of venom with a unique banana-like smell that releases "alarm pheromones" that signal a threat to bees at the hive.

"The sooner you can get rid of that, the less odor you're carrying that can attract more bees to you," Nieh said. "But definitely don't stop and try to look for those stingers. Get as far away as possible and then once you're safe, start removing them.”

Removing stingers earlier will also decrease your body's reaction to stings because you'll reduce the amount of venom that seeps through your skin, Thompson said. Avoid pinching the skin during stinger removal, as you can squeeze this sac and release more venom.

Are children more vulnerable than adults?

Most people can tolerate 10 stings per pound of body weight, according to the Agriculture Department, meaning a 50-pound child could survive up to 500 stings but an adult could survive more than 1,000.

What are the treatments?

If you're severely allergic to bees, use an EpiPen immediately to reverse anaphylaxis, a life-threatening allergic reaction that causes your throat to swell within minutes or seconds, making it difficult or impossible to breathe.

Do not use an EpiPen if you're not allergic to bees, Nieh said. It can cause side effects such as a rapid heartbeat and high blood pressure that may warrant a trip to the hospital.

All bee stings produce an allergic response such as swelling and itching at the site that can last for a few days, Nieh said, but only those with an actual allergy to the insect are at risk of severe reactions.

If you have been stung by several bees, you may need to go to a hospital for treatment, which will probably include antihistamines, epinephrine (adrenaline) and cortisone to reduce inflammation and improve breathing, experts said.

Single bee stings can be treated with a cold compress and an anti-itch cream or an oral antihistamine such as Benadryl, all of which are available over the counter.

You can also use a device called a heat pen — available from brands such as Beurer and Bite Away. When immediately applied to a sting site, it can destroy compounds inside the venom that cause symptoms such as itching, Nieh suggested.

You should go to a hospital if you notice swelling in areas other than the sting site, as well as symptoms such as stomach cramps, vomiting, diarrhea, low blood pressure and hives. This could mean you're experiencing a mild allergic reaction, which can occur up to 30 minutes after a sting and last for hours.

A bee sting will affect everyone differently. If you notice a colony of bees that might pose a threat to people, Thompson recommends calling an experienced beekeeper or bee removal specialist to evaluate the situation.

When in doubt, "keep calm and keep your distance," she said. "Bees probably don't want to bother you and you shouldn't want to bother them."

June 1, 2023 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

4'33" — John Cage

A 2010 performance by William Marx of John Cage's 4'33".

Filmed at the McCallum Theatre in Palm Desert, California.

Composer John Adams said of Cage, "He prodded us to reevaluate how we define not only music but also the entire experience of encountering art."

June 1, 2023 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thundershirt — 'Pet anxiety control garment'


Wrote Jason Iannone in a Cracked.com post:

You know how some pets get scared of loud noises?

Yes, the particularly lazy among us are turning to the Thundershirt, perhaps the most passive manner of pet anxiety control this side of blatantly ignoring the animal and rolling your eyes until it stops whining.

At its most basic, you're sticking your pet in a blood-pressure monitor that squeezes their body, which is supposed to soothe them in times of stress and fear.

The Thundershirt hugs them until their little heart stops pounding and their fear goes away.

And if it's not enough that the Thundershirt is a symbol of laziness, it's also likely detrimental to your dog.

As we've shown in the past, doing anything different during a bad situation, whether it be comforting, cooing, hugging, or running around like a maniac cursing God for the hell He hath wrought upon your humble abode, only serves to confuse your pet and reinforce their fears.

So whether you stroke your pet while humming a lullaby, or simply slap a squeezy shirt on it, you're ****ing the animal up.

But at least the former shows you care.

Oh, and don't believe their website when they show pictures of cats wearing their product.


Bull****; you might get a dog to wear this thing, because a dog will do whatever you want.

But a cat? Good luck.


By the time they're done clawing your brains out for even attempting it, you'll be a quivering, shaky mess, and you might as well wear the Shirt yourself.



June 1, 2023 at 08:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

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