Concern Over Stings As Supply Of Allergy Shots Drop

FORT WORTH (CBS11) – The great outdoors aren’t so great for people allergic to stinging insects.  The supply of allergy shots to protect them has dropped dramatically.

“We’ve always been very cautious when there’s any types of hornets, wasps or bees around,” said Jessica Hernandez as she walked through the Fort Worth Botanical Garden with her son.

Hernandez is cautious while strolling through the botanic gardens. There’s danger in the flowers because she and her sons have had reactions to bee stings such as swelling and numbness. So they’re always on guard.

“We are just aware of our surroundings and try not to agitate them,” she said. “And be aware of not having scented fragrances that have real sweet smells because that attracts them as well.

“People who are really concerned, had a couple of reactions, they get kind of understandably nervous,” said allergist Dr. Bob Lanier.

Dr. Lanier would normally give allergy shots to people who have the most severe reactions to stinging insects.

But this year there’s a problem. The plant that draws venom from the insects to make the allergy shots closed due to contamination problems.

“All of the sudden the supply of the vaccination products for allergy shots for insects just dried up overnight,” Dr. Lanier said.

That means treating the allergies to give long-term protection to sufferers ground to a crawl.

“We had people on treatment but couldn’t get it anymore. And we had people who are waiting to start,” Dr. Lanier.

People can still carry an Epipen to give themselves an emergency shot if their stung. But allergists say that is a shot of last resort.

“This is an immediate bail out,” Dr. Lanier said of the Epipen. “It works, but it’s kind of like carrying a fire extinguisher around with you. It works — but it’s kind of late in the process! “

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