[Question] My dad got stung by a bee, and is mildly allergic. What are the tradeoffs involved in deciding whether to have him go the the emergency room?


  • My dad is 61, and reasonably healthy.

  • 20 minutes ago, he got stung by a bee, on the ear.

  • When he’s been stung (or bitten by ants) in the past, the area around the sting/​bite has swollen considerably, but he has never gone into anaphylaxis.

    • However, I’m concerned that this situation has a larger risk of obstructing the airway, simply because the sting is on his head.

  • We removed the stinger within 5 minutes of being stung, and he took a dose of Diphenhydramine (Benadryl).

  • He lives in Maricopa, Arizona, US, where (according the the John Hopkins Cornavirus dashboard), there have been 2,491 total COVID-19 cases, and 70 deaths.


  • Does anyone know of figure such as “If the patient starts do develop symptoms in their mouth or throat, their risk of full blow anaphylaxis is [X]%?”

    • I think that number in particular, is pretty crux-y.

  • Which resources should I be referring to.

  • How should I be weighing the risks of bringing him to the emergency room in light of the current pandemic?

[Update: it seems like the base-rate of anaphylaxis from bee stings is 3%, when anaphylaxis occurs, it usually starts within within a few minutes.

The key question I have left is if “large local swelling”, can block the air ways when it the swelling is on the head or face.]

Thank you!