Yesterday afternoon, July 22nd, Coquitlam SAR responded to a call for a hiker on the Diez Vistas trail near Buntzen Lake who was experiencing an allergic reaction from a stung from a wasp or hornet.
Using long line rescue with the assistance of Talon Helicopters we inserted rescuers and a team paramedic to assist the subject, and flew her to a waiting ambulance. While SAR volunteers were hiking out with the rest of the subject’s family members, one of them began experiencing an allergic reaction as well – to another wasp sting.
Bees, Wasps, Hornets, Yellow Jackets
Wasp nests are a common hazard on trails in BC, and most hikers have encountered them at one time or another, especially those nesting in the ground. They are hard to see, and sometimes difficult to avoid and when they are in the middle of a trail it can be like stepping into a trap. An allergic reaction from a sting can take the form of swelling and hives to dizziness, drowsiness and shortness of breath and other symptoms. It can be life threatening, so it is important to seek medical attention if you have a severe reaction.
Hikers who know they are allergic to bees and wasps can carry epinephrine (prescribed) and antihistamines (available without a prescription). According to HealthLinkBC, treatment for mild or severe reactions to stings includes the following:
- For a severe reaction, such as hives, confusion, or trouble breathing:
- If you think you are having a severe allergic reaction, give yourself an epinephrine shot in your thigh muscle.
- Also take an oral antihistamine.
- Call 911 and go to the emergency room, even if you feel better.
- For a large, local reaction or a mild reaction, you can typically treat it yourself.
- Use an ice pack to reduce swelling. If you can, raise the body part where you were stung.
- Take an over-the-counter pain reliever, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol, for example) or ibuprofen (Advil, for example).
- Take an antihistamine to help with the itching. Read and follow the warnings on the label. And don’t give antihistamines to your child unless you’ve checked with the doctor first.
For more information on bee and wasp stings and how to handle them please see the BC Drug and Poison Information Centre. Buntzen Lake Wardens are aware of the nest on the Diez Vistas trail near the first Vista and are working with BC Parks and Metro Vancouver to see if it can be removed.