This site is intended for health professionals only

Bee venom boosts sting immunity

A beekeeper who faced having to give up his favourite pastime because of his allergy to bee stings is undergoing hospital treatment to boost his immune system.

Michael Lynch, from Bonsall, in Derbyshire, faced having to give up his hobby after a sting on the chin caused him to collapse with life-threatening anaphylactic shock.

He found he had gradually developed an allergy over more than 30 years of keeping the insects.

He has started a three-year programme using bee venom to "desensitise" his immune system against the allergic reactions after his doctor referred him to the Clinical Immunology and Allergy team at the Northern General Hospital in Sheffield.

Mr Lynch said he had seen "a real difference" in the first few weeks of the treatment.

"The injections have been built up to the equivalent level of two bee stings and I experienced no reaction from the last one given to me," he said.

Fran Ashworth, senior clinical immunology and allergy nurse specialist at the Northern General, said: "Desensitising the body against allergies has become a successful way to treat patients with life-threatening wasp and bee venom allergies. It can also be used to treat grass pollen allergy."

Copyright © PA Business 2008

Northern General Hospital

Have you filled out the latest online survey on cardiovascular disease? Click here to complete it.

The Nursing in Practice Awards 2008 deadline is looming (23 May 2008). Entering is easy and you can nominate yourself or someone you know who you think is deserving. Don't miss out on this chance to win £500. For more information go to