The Dangers Of Bee Stings

The tragic death of a Florida toddler who was stung by hundreds of yellow jackets alerted parents nationwide to the need for quick medical attention in the case a bee-swarm attack.

CBS News Health Consultant Dr. Bernadine Healy warns that multiple stings can be deadly to small children.

"Little children can't handle as much toxic poison from the bees as a larger person can," Dr. Healy says.

On average, a child can only handle the toxicity of 1 bee sting per pound. A 30-pound child could only handle 30 bee stings. But 2-year-old Harrison Johnson was stung 435 times.
Authorities said the boy's parents waited seven hours to call for help. Kelly and Wylie Johnson said they waited that long because they didn't know their child was dying.

When paramedics arrived, the boy wasn't breathing and had no pulse. He was pronounced dead at a local hospital.

While hundreds of stings could be fatal to any small child, Dr. Healy says that an allergic child would have a more sudden reaction if he or she is allergic to bees.

"It occurs within minutes. They stop breathing, they have cardiovascular collapse," Dr. Healy explains.

The poison from the sting can affect the heart, lungs, and brain, Healy says.

A parent should take a child who has suffered from multiple stings to a hospital emergency room as soon as possible.