Hubby's job comes with a sting

17:00, Aug 01 2014
Andrea Hutton
BEE-ING CAREFUL: Andrea Hutton with her epinephrine pen that she is hoping she will never have to use. The Hutton’s Honey owner is allergic to bees.

Andrea Hutton is allergic to her job - literally.

Andrea and husband Steve own Hutton's Honey but the bubbly mother of two has to stay clear of the flying insects.

"I was stung last year and went into anaphylactic shock," she recalled.

She can't remember being stung as a child. It wasn't until five years ago she realised she could be allergic.

"I was helping in the honey shed and was stung twice on the hand. My lips swelled and I wasn't feeling well."

A trip to the pharmacy for an antihistamine helped on that occasion, but stepping on a bee last year nearly ended in tragedy.


"Within minutes I was covered in a rash and I was having difficulty breathing - it was quite scary."

After jumping on Google, she realised she was having an allergic reaction. Her two children, aged 12 and 10, were home at the time.

"I called an ambulance and then my neighbour to come look after the kids."

The ambulance staff gave her adrenalin on the spot before taking her to hospital, where she was later discharged.

After her brush she came across an article on desensitisation and contacted her GP. "I didn't realise there was such a thing."

Desensitisation involves receiving regular injections containing gradually increasing doses of allergen given over an extended period.

Her first treatments were in Christchurch at the hospital. The initial treatment lasted a week.

"Each day I was injected with a small amount of bee venom and, by the end of the week, I'd had enough to equal a bee sting."

Hutton, who has been married to her beekeeper husband Steve for 13 years, will continue to receive injections once a month from her GP for the next couple of years.

She also now religiously carries an EpiPen containing a single dose of epinephrine, which she can inject if stung.

Hutton tries not to put herself in danger, and keeps vigilant. Even washing her husband's overalls (which can be covered in venom) is a chore handled with care.

"He had big plans for the two of us. He was hoping when the kids left school I could join him at work and we could do it together like a happy beekeeping couple," she said, laughing.

The Timaru Herald