5 sickened by bee, wasp stings in Washington

5 sickened by bee, wasp stings in Washington »Play Video
PUYALLUP, Wash. -- Devin Anglemyer says his brother came awfully close to dying after being stung by angry yellow jackets on the Fourth of July.

"The bees just came out and attacked him," Anglemyer said. "Wasn't too many; just two or three bees."

The man is now on a ventilator in the intensive care unit at the Good Samaritan Hospital.

"He's never been allergic to bees," the victim's brother said. "He's had tons and tons of stings in his whole life. Never had an allergic reaction, ever."

And he's not the only person who ran into trouble over the holiday weekend. In the past few days, a group of people have been rushed to this one hospital, ranging in age from 20 to 60, and all victims of nasty, dangerous stings.

A man in his mid-40s was stung four to five times. He quickly slipped into anaphylactic shock. His throat swelled up, and he lost consciousness.

Public health officials have taken notice.

"Five people have been hospitalized due to anaphylactic shock from bee or wasp stings, and that's an unusual number," said Joby Winans of the Pierce County Health Department.

Nearly all victims were suffering a severe allergic reaction they've never had before, most likely to the yellow jacket venom. For one person, all it took was one, single sting.

Health officials have found and destroyed one hive containing yellow jackets, but they fear others may still be out there.

Anglemyer's brother is slowly recovering, but he now fears the certain flying insect that landed him in the hospital.

"The ER doctor said if he lived near Eatonville, he never would have made it back to the hospital. So scary," said his brother.

Anyone who gets stung by a bee or a wasp is urged to look for warning signs, including: dizziness, trouble breathing, and hives - not only at the site of the sting, but all over the body. Anyone who spots these warning signs should call 911 immediately.

Watch the Bites, Stings and Creepy Crawly Things series on KVAL 13 TV News at 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. through July 9. | Share your bug bite stories on KVAL.com or send your story and photos to kvalnews@kval.com