A Spanish woman died after trying an alternative treatment method that involved the use of live bees. The lethal practice was bee acupuncture, which replaces needles with bee stings. This incident came as a surprise, as the woman had undergone this treatment for years, and was not allergic to any compounds found in bee venom or bee products.
What is bee acupuncture?
Bee acupuncture is a practice common in apitherapy. This treatment involves using bee products, including venom, propolis, or honey, to treat all sorts medical conditions. It’s well-known that such products can be great for health. However, many apitherapy practices come with plenty of risks, especially when it comes to bee acupuncture.
Replacing regular acupuncture needs with bee stings is extremely risky for people with a higher sensitivity. Their bodies might perceive bee venom as an allergen, so they might experience all sorts of allergic reactions. These start from milder ones like swelling to rougher reactions that can turn lethal. Also, those who get exposed to this venom allergen on a regular basis have more chances to experience the severe type of allergic reactions.
The woman had no previous allergies to bee products
The Spanish woman, aged 55, was not aware of being allergic to any bee products. She was a fan of apitherapy, and had been using bee acupuncture every month over a period of two years. However, during her latest session, she suddenly fainted after receiving the procedure. When she got to the hospital, she had already entered a coma, and doctors couldn’t prevent her organs from failing one after another.
Doctors say this was the first case of a patient who died from bee acupuncture. They also say the woman could have survived if the apitherapy practitioner would have administered her an adrenaline shot as soon as she showed the first symptoms of anaphylaxis. This is why these people should inform their patients on the risks of apitherapy, and be ready to react in any situation.
A case study on the incident was also published in the Journal of Investigational Allergology and Clinical Immunology.
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