An elderly woman was found dead in her house in southern Greece following a suspected attack by a swarm of wasps.
Local media reports from Ilia in western Peloponnese said that the woman, aged 67, was on vacation when she was reported to have discovered a wasps’ nest in her holiday home.
It is believed that the insects repeatedly stung her when she tried to remove their nest.
While an autopsy is yet to be held that will reveal the exact cause of her death, media reports have speculated that the woman may have had an allergy to the sting of the wasps that would have been the cause of her death.
Wasps are fiercely territorial and will attack anyone that gets near their nest. Social wasps use a pheromone to call other wasps when they feel threatened.
Wasp stings can cause a severe allergic reaction known as anaphylaxis. Enough wasp stings can kill a person, whether or not they’re allergic.
Stings by a swarm of wasps can cause anaphylaxis
Anaphylaxis is a medical emergency. If the affected individual doesn’t have access to an adrenaline auto-injector, it can be life-threatening. If you or someone you know experiences this reaction, call 911, use the injector if available, and remove the stinger if possible.
Symptoms of this life-threatening condition include: lightheadedness or feeling faint, difficulty breathing, rapid heartbeat, anxiety and confusion, wheezing, and loss of consciousness.
Whether or not a person has an allergy, sustaining enough wasp stings can be lethal. The USDA states that the average non-allergic person can safely withstand ten stings per pound of body weight.
While it’s unlikely to get stung that many times at once, the threat is still present—especially if you’re poking around a nest. A single wasp can sting multiple times, so a confrontation with only a few hundred of them can be deadly.
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