Even a single sting of a bee pains so much that we feel like dying at that very moment. Just imagine tonnes of bees stinging vigorously on a particular part of your body. Too painful right?
This is what exactly happened with a woman in Spain who died after undergoing a supposedly routine “bee acupuncture” treatment and then suffering an allergic reaction that put her in a coma.
The death, caused by a severe allergic reaction, is believed to be the first fatality from this form of apitherapy — an alternative medicine in which honeybee products, including honey, pollen and venom are used to treat various conditions.
In bee acupuncture, a practitioner puts a live bee on the patient and pinches the insect’s head until the sting needle emerges to insert venom into the body. The bee dies after a sting.
The case in Spain involved live bees, according to the Journal of Investigational Allergology and Clinical Immunology, a Spanish medical journal. The patient, a 55-year-old woman, had already been going to such bee acupuncture sessions every four weeks over a two-year period to treat stiff muscles and stress, the journal stated.
The woman had no history of other illness, such as asthma or heart disease, nor a history of being allergic to insect bites or bee stings before, according to her case study. In two years, she had reportedly withstood all of her bee acupuncture sessions “with good tolerance,” the journal stated — until her last visit, when she suddenly had an adverse reaction to a sting.
“She developed wheezing, dyspnea, and sudden loss of consciousness immediately after a live bee sting,” the report stated. “An ambulance was called, although it took 30 minutes to arrive.”
The woman was taken to a hospital but died “some weeks later,” the journal stated. During her allergic reaction, the woman’s blood pressure had dropped to the point of causing “a massive watershed stroke and permanent coma” leading to multiple organ failure, the study said.
In the report about the woman's death in Spain, the co-authors said outright that patients should avoid the practice because of its risks.
"The risks of undergoing apitherapy may exceed the presumed benefits, leading us to conclude that this practice is both unsafe and unadvisable," Vazquez-Revuelta and Madrigal-Burgaleta wrote.