Man has possible 'extremely allergic reaction' after bee attack in Phoenix

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A man was taken to the hospital after being attacked by bees in Phoenix. (Source: KPHO/KTVK) A man was taken to the hospital after being attacked by bees in Phoenix. (Source: KPHO/KTVK)
It's unclear how many times the man was stung. (Source: KPHO/KTVK) It's unclear how many times the man was stung. (Source: KPHO/KTVK)
MESA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

A man was taken to the hospital with a possible extremely allergic reaction after being attacked by bees in Phoenix on Thursday, firefighters said.

It happened around 4 p.m. near 14th and Michigan avenues.

Firefighters said the 51-year-old had respiratory distress and numerous welts from the bee attack.

He's also had periods of unconsciousness, the fire department said.

It's unclear how many times he was stung.

No other details about the attack were immediately available.

There have been several bee attacks in the Phoenix metro area this year.

If you find yourself caught in a bee swarm, there are several things you can and should do to mitigate the danger.

When bees attack

Once the bees get riled up, the most important thing to do is run away as fast as possible. Do not try to retrieve belongings nearby. Do not try to stand still in an attempt to fool the bees. Do not try to fight the bees they have the advantage of numbers and the gift of flight. The more you flail your arms, the madder they will get. Just run indoors as fast as possible.

A bee can obtain speeds of from 12 to 15 mph, but most healthy humans can outrun them. So, run. And keep running. Africanized honeybees have been known to follow people for more than a quarter mile.

Any covering for your body, and especially for your head and face, will help you escape. While outdoor enthusiasts can hardly be expected to go around in bee suits, a small handkerchief or mosquito net device that fits over the head could easily be carried in a pocket. People who have been attacked say the worst part is having the bees sting your face and eyes. Any impairment of your vision will also make it more difficult to escape. So even though a net over your head may leave the rest of your body exposed, it will allow you to see where you are going as you run away from the colony or source of the bees.

If you do not happen to have a net with you, grab a blanket, a coat, a towel -- anything that will give you momentary relief while you look for an avenue of escape. But the covering device is not going to protect you for long. The idea is to use it to help you get away.

If you have nothing else, pull your shirt up over your face. The stings you may get on your chest and abdomen are far less serious than those to the facial area.

Try to find shelter as soon as possible. Take refuge in a house, tent or a car with the windows and doors closed. Some bees are bound to enter with you, but it will be darker and probably cooler inside, which will confuse the bees and you should be able to swat them or vacuum them up easily enough. Even if you do get stung a few times, remember that each bee can only sting once. As long as the number of bees inside the shelter with you is small, you have the advantage.

Although it may be tempting, do not jump into water. The bees will simply wait for you to come up for air.

Once you are away from the bees, take a second and evaluate the situation. If you have been stung more than 15 times, or if you are having any symptoms other than local pain and swelling, seek medical attention immediately. If you see someone else being stung or think others are in danger, call 911 immediately.

Bee prepared

The best offense is a good defense. There are a few things you can do to be prepared. One is to wear light-colored clothing. Experience has shown that bees tend to attack dark things. Dark clothing, dark hair, anything dark in color could draw the bees. 

Avoid wearing floral or citrus aftershaves or perfumes when hiking. Bees are sensitive to odors, both pleasant and unpleasant. The smell of newly cut grass has been shown to annoy honey bees.

Check around your house and yard at least once a month to see if there are any signs of bees taking up residence. If you do find a swarm or colony, leave it alone and keep your family and pets away. Look in the Yellow Pages for a pest control company or a local beekeeper to deal with the bees.

To help prevent honeybees from building a colony in your house or yard, fill all cracks and crevices in walls with steel wool and caulk. Remove piles of junk; honey bees will nest in an old soda can or an overturned flower pot. Fill holes in the ground, and cover the hole in your water valve box.

Copyright 2016 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


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