But sometimes the effects can be more severe. If a worker is stung in the neck, it may cause edema (swelling caused by fluid build-up in the tissues) around the throat and may make it difficult to breathe, according to CCOHS. If a worker is stung, his co-workers should be made aware so they can monitor him for any adverse effects. The main concern with stinging insects is an allergic reaction, says Gerard Messier, training and program development advisor for the BC Forest Safety Council in Nanaimo, B.C. Anaphylactic shock might set in, which is life threatening. Symptoms include difficulty breathing, swollen eyelids, hives, wheezing, hoarse voice, dizziness, shock or cardiac arrest. According to CCOHS, of those who die from a severe allergic reaction to a sting, one-half die within 30 minutes and three-quarters within 45 minutes. While many allergic workers will know they are at risk and carry an EpiPen with them, others might not know how they are going to react to a wasp or bee sting, says Messier. “People might think ‘I don’t have an allergy, I will be fine. I have been stung by a bee or bitten by a wasp before and I was okay.’ But you never know how you are going to react because it might depend where it stings you. If it stings you on the face or neck, that might be different than if it stung you on the leg,” he says.
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