Allergies and Bees - Need advice from vets

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by ScottyDev, Apr 23, 2014.

  1. ScottyDev

    ScottyDev Adventurer

    Jan 31, 2014
    Metrowest, MA, USA
    Hey Folks,
    First, I'm fairly inexperienced as a rider, and this is my first time riding a street bike outside of the city (not used to dealing with lots of bugs or pollen).

    While riding home from work yesterday I noticed that my allergies were really acting up despite having started my seasonal Zyrtec doping. Fortunately, it doesn't make me drowsy at all, but it also doesn't work 100%. It wasn't too bad, but it got me thinking about what this Spring season is going to be like. Then, there are bees, etc.

    I wear a full faced helmet, and have the standard windshield on my F800GS. I'm wondering what others have experienced with this? How can I protect myself from the elements better?

    I did a google search, but didn't come up with anything particularly useful. I'm hoping you guys can offer any advice. I certainly appreciate it!

  2. flei

    flei cycletherapist

    Apr 1, 2013
    Western Mass.
    I can think of a few things:

    It is unclear if you are stating you are allergic to bee stings. Obviously, if you are, you need to carry an epi-pen (or several) and wear a medical ID bracelet!!

    You can add a larger windscreen, or an extension to what you have now. This may make a big difference from the stock screen in terms of deflecting ollen, bees, etc.

    Does your helmet have a chin curtain? That helps. Some wear scarves around their neck to fill any voids under the helmet.

    I have not tried these but they seem fairly well-reviewed:
  3. FredRydr

    FredRydr Danger: Keep Back 300 Ft.

    Aug 16, 2005
    Carlisle Pennsylvania USA
    When a bee hits me in the neck, I generally get stung. There are neck coverings with velcro.

    When a bee hits a vent, its body is smashed and venom atomizes to blow into the helmet. I've experienced that sensation many times, with my eyes watering up like crazy. I suppose you could keep the chin vent closed, but that can get awfully hot and humid.

    Luckily, I am not particularly allergic, just run-of-the-mill PITA.


    P.S. You might want to post in the Equipment forum
  4. Detroit Steve

    Detroit Steve Homely Adventurer

    Feb 6, 2008
    I have had the same issue for years and fixed it by mistake.

    Which I will not bore you with the details, but it turns out I am allergic to milk. When I quit drinking milk, my resistance to pollens, molds, etc. went way up and bee stings are now painful annoyances. I have tried many combos of allergy meds with limited success.

    Epi-pens would help me past a bee sting but the rest of my day would kind of a drag.
  5. Jays-f800gs

    Jays-f800gs Been here awhile

    Sep 19, 2012
    Spokane, WA
    I have a yellow and orange helmet on the front side and the bees dive bomb me all the time. Last year had the visor up and it got inside between helmet and ear and stung the side of my head. I almost crashed trying to get it out, by the time I stopped he had died!

    If your allergic to them I suggested a helmet that doesn't have bright colors!
  6. ScottyDev

    ScottyDev Adventurer

    Jan 31, 2014
    Metrowest, MA, USA
    Thanks for the advice! I didn't think about what would happen with a direct impact into the vent areas (with venom coming through). I don't know that I am allergic (I haven't been stung by a bee since I was a child, and don't remember having breathing problems afterwards), but I'm not looking to find out. Also, while I tend to be pretty tolerant to most things, the thought of a bee getting trapped in my helmet sounds like... I'm pretty sure that i would lose my $#it.

    It sounds more and more like an extendable (clip on?) windshield would be the better option, as it should avoid contact altogether (I would hope). That, and I'm thinking I should pick up some super light weight jacket (workout gear) that I can wear over a t-shirt.. not for thermal protection but just to reduce impact.

    Thanks again,
  7. jengel451

    jengel451 1 Cool MotherF#$cker

    May 2, 2011
    Kansas City
    I have massive hay fever, just push through it and don't sneeze in your helmet. it's messy.

    Bee's are another issue, I've been in races and have had, on 2 occasions, a wasp hit and somehow fall inside my leathers and proceed to sting the crap out of me.....let me tell you, doing 180 and coming into a 5th gear turn while getting stung makes thing REALLY REALLY interesting.

    Short of it is, you can try to protect yourself, but shit happens.
  8. Mollygrubber

    Mollygrubber Eschew obfuscation

    Feb 2, 2010
    Vancouver, BC
    For real? Holy shit, never thought about that. Can't wait to tell the wife - she loves my constant trivia! :deal
  9. Strawdog

    Strawdog Strawdog

    Jun 5, 2012
    My allergies kick in its sucks. I try to take meds couple hours before I ride on road trips first sign start taking them as prescribed.

    I live in the prairies so dust pollen always an issue , I keep water and cloth to clean my face seems to help. On my Harley use an open face helmet so I soak a handkerchief in water wrap it around nose /mouth.

    Tried it on F800GS pain in the @#@%$ so I bring extra cloths to clean inside visor. Sneezing and water crossings really bite crash every time.:1drink
  10. Vampir

    Vampir Aimless Wanderer

    Jul 12, 2013
    Another thing to think about is wearing cuffed gloves (gauntlets). That'll keep the little buggers from going up your sleeve. It sucks in hotter weather though as that is a great source of fresh air.
  11. DougFromKentucky

    DougFromKentucky Just a good 'ole boy

    May 22, 2008
    Bowling Green, Kentucky
    Scotty, please take this as given. I am not trying to pick on you or diminish your problem. From what I see it appears to me that you aren't (or haven't been) the outdoorsy type? The reason I am asking this is that you state that you haven't been stung by a bee since you were a child but you are worried that you might get stung by a bee while riding a motorcycle. Riding is an outdoors recreation. I expect that at some point while riding you will find that a bee will join you on your ride. It happens. Just as if you were walking in the woods, you might get a bee sting. If you are not allergic to bee stings which your childhood experience would lead me to believe you are not, then just accept that a bee sting can happen. The riding community used to have a saying, "You can tell that you have a happy rider by the bugs in his teeth." Supposed to mean that bugs in teeth show he is grinning all the time while he is riding. Now, we mostly wear full face helmets for safety that old saying is not as true as it once was but it does speak to possibly your problem. Riding is some of the most fun you can have with your clothes on. If you are overly worried about what could happen while you are riding it diminishes much of the joy of riding.

    Just something to think about.
  12. Gripsteruser

    Gripsteruser Got a handle on it

    Jul 12, 2013
    N. Colo
    It took me 32 years of riding to finally ride up the east end of a westbound bee with my bare neck.
    Now I'm more rigorous about changing to a turtleneck when going for a ride.

    +1 on gauntlet style gloves. Nothing goes up your sleeve that way.

    For pollen - only ride after it's rained recently and avoid suburban flower gardens. Have a bottle of saline eyedrops to rinse out your eyes asap.
    Sometimes the pollen season is just too bad to ride.
  13. fast1075

    fast1075 Fasterizer

    Dec 28, 2013
    It's funny, with me, a bee sting is barely an annoyance. Tiny pain, bit of itching. I pull over and extract the stinger. By the time I get to where I am going, there is no trace of the sting.

    A wasp sting is a different matter entirely. I carry epinephrine with me everywhere. The reaction to a wasp sting is immediate and profound.

    Fortunately pollen has no effect on me. Once for a $50.00 dare. I lined up some oak pollen that was thick on a car hood and snorted it. Got my $50.00, no problem.:ear
  14. Robert_W

    Robert_W Blah blah blah.

    Aug 30, 2012
    NW Montana
    Yup, if you're going to ride and ride enough then bees will get you sooner or later. Just something to accept. Try not to panic. Pull to the side and deal with it. It's tough but doable. And find out if you are allergic or not. If so Epipen.

    Yellowjackets are the worst. Little bastards can keep stinging multiple times. Flipped up the visor coming into town once and right down the side through the only hole it could get through. By the time I got pulled over and my helmet off the SOB got me like 6 or 7 times. I must have looked like a dancing fool trying to get my helmet off bouncing around and swatting at it. :D
    Roktman likes this.
  15. ride4321

    ride4321 Long timer

    Dec 21, 2009
    Binghamton, NY
    Don't wear these...




    Wear one of these instead...

  16. scottrnelson

    scottrnelson Team Orange

    Apr 3, 2006
    Pleasanton, CA
    I got stung in the neck by five bees in less than two years a few years back. Four of them were honey bees and one was some nasty little black thing that crawled down my neck, stinging me as it went. I don't believe wearing a yellow helmet increases the odds, but I was wearing a yellow helmet in all of those cases.

    The only way I know to avoid bee stings is to be 100% covered so that they can't get to your skin. It's amazing how a bee can find that four square inches of exposed skin under your chin. Wearing a Buff covering my neck solves the bee problem, but is not comfortable in the hot weather, when bees are most likely to be out.

    I find it interesting that you can hit a bee at 60 mph and it can sting you before it dies.

    Also, be sure you get the stinger out. The first time I experienced the 60 mph bee to the neck thing, I thought I had removed the stinger, but hadn't. I rode for four more hours before I finally got that thing out. Since then I look in a mirror and remove the stinger. A credit card seems to work okay to scrape it off.
  17. Rango

    Rango Phaneropter

    Oct 30, 2012
    Kingdom of Belgium
    Aspivenin is a good tool to remove a sting. If you have to use pliers be very careful to get it completely and avoid pressing more venom into your system!

    If allergic to bee stings: have counter medicine with you and a first aid bracelet.

    RZ-mask are excellent protection against pollen, dust and micro polluents. Comfortable enough to be used in hot weather.

    A silk rag is good protection too. Bonus feature: wet it for extra cooling.
  18. Hesaid

    Hesaid Long timer

    Dec 1, 2012
    Central CA
    This thread reminded me of my own bee experience (excerpt from one of my own posts). good times, good times...


    DADODIRT Long timer

    Jun 25, 2004
    Durango,CO(not quite Purgatory)
    I'm allergic and carry an epi-pen.

    Tweny some years of riding and I've never been stung while on the bike.

    ATGATT, but nothing special. I probably have my visor up more often than down.

    All my stings have happened in the woods - either working(surveyor) or just hiking.
  20. catweasel67

    catweasel67 RD04

    Aug 18, 2009
    Vienna, Austria
    I got stung on a bollock once whilst riding - was the quickest emergency stop ever - not to mention the speed with which I stripped down to my bare arse so I could extract the bee. Walked like John Wayne for 3 days after that cos of the size of my plum.

    And back to the OT - my bro became allergic to stings - dead in 30 minutes if not treated - and he carried a pen for a fair few years but one day, as part of regular allergy testing - he wasn't any more. Doesn't stop him freaking the fuck out when he hears one mind you - the bloody wuss - chances are very reasonable that he won't die, don't know what all the fuss is about.

    Anyway - the point being, if you're allergic, and your doctor will confirm, follow your doctors instructions.

    Does anyone else keep reading the thread title and think "veterinarian"? I assume it's meant to mean "veteran"...but hey! Who knows...veteran at what? being stung? There's good vets, and old vets but no good, old vets?