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I couldn’t leave the house for three years after being stung by a wasp

Jun 28, 2023Jun 28, 2023

A MUM-of-four was left unable to leave her house for three years after being stung by a wasp, she has revealed.

Suki Tipp, from Troy, Alabama, was stung when she was 36 in 2018 while moving furniture with her husband Chad in a barn near their house.

She described what happened next as “almost like serving three years in jail”, after being diagnosed with systemic mastocytosis — a rare immune condition.

The estate agent realised something was wrong when she had a weird reaction to the wasp, which she had never had with previous stings.

Ms Tipp told Insider: “I had this strange taste in my mouth that reminded me of the smell of bug spray or weed killer. I started getting really hot and breathing hard and felt sick.

“I walked 200 yards back to the house and felt dizzy. My body was on fire. I somehow managed to reach for my phone and text ‘Help!' to Chad.

“He found me unconscious. He said that I'd vomited, my eyes were rolled back, and I was foaming at my mouth. I was hardly breathing.”

Chad rushed her to the hospital where she coded three times and medics used pads to resuscitate her.

She had suffered anaphylaxis — a deadly reaction to an allergen that can be caused by food, medicine or insect stings.

The mum was kept in critical care for 10 days before being released.

However, despite being given epi-pens, she suffered more and more allergic reactions that saw her back in hospital.

Doctors didn’t know what was causing her reactions, with anything from food to cleaning products setting off a potentially life-threatening attack.

Eventually, she was diagnosed with systemic mastocytosis, after several allergen and blood tests.

The condition affects around one in 150,000 Brits and is caused by mast cells — a type of white blood cell that helps manage the immune system — appearing in different parts of the body.

When the cells detect an allergen, they release histamine and other chemicals into the bloodstream, causing itchiness and swelling.

During an episode, patients can suffer flushing skin, diarrhoea, vomiting, muscle and joint pain, mood changes, headaches and tiredness.

They are also more at risk of anaphylaxis, meaning any allergen is potentially deadly.

Ms Tipp was left unable to leave her house and her children and husband had to remove their clothes before coming in.

She became deeply frustrated at having to miss social events and her children’s graduations, she said.

It left her feeling depressed and jealous of everyone else being able to get on with their normal lives, she added.

Medications including steroids had little effect and at one point the mast cells attacked her hair follicles, leading to her losing her hair.

But in 2021, her oncologist recommended she go on a clinical trial for a new drug called Aykavit, which targets the genetic mutation behind the condition.

The drug was approved by the US Food and Drugs Administration in May this year but has not been approved by the National Institute for Health and Excellence in Britain.

Slowly, her symptoms started to improve and she was able to leave the house again.

Despite lacking confidence in big crowds initially, she started to increase how much she was out and saw her youngest son’s graduation from middle school this year.

She also went on her first family holiday since the wasp sting and has been kayaking and hiking.