500 bee stings, 2 cans Doom

2014-03-13 00:00

A KWAZULU-NATAL woman has miraculously survived the effects of more than 500 bee stings and the two cans of insecticide sprayed on her to kill the insects swarming over her body.

Sunitha Sheik (44) from Richmond began her day yesterday looking forward to a pampering session with a new haircut at a nearby hair and beauty salon. She ended it last night disfigured from intense swelling, but grateful to be alive.

Walking back with her new haircut she was overcome by an angry swarm of bees that had been disturbed by a grader working near the corner of Nelson and Campbell streets.

“I thought I was going to die,” wept Sheik, lying on a bed in the Richmond clinic where she was rushed after her ordeal.

She said she was on her way to Spar when she was suddenly attacked by the bees.

“Initially, I thought that just one bee had stung me and I was screaming to the grader operator for help but the guy just closed all his windows and continued to stir up trouble by grading around where the beehive was,” said Sheik.

She said when she realised that she had been stung multiple times and that if she did not get help soon she could die. “All I thought about was running to Ronal Singh, the salon owner.”

Sheik said while being stung she dropped her purse and lost her glasses.

“I could not see a thing.”

When she arrived back at the salon, she began to lose consciousness.

Singh, the owner of the hair and beauty salon, said she heard the woman screaming and thought the voice sounded familiar but could not recognise Sheik as she was literally covered in bees.

There bees were all over her hair, face and entire body.

“My mother suggested we use two bottles of Doom to spray her with and she collapsed inside our yard because she was already in so much pain,” said Singh.

She said while they were spraying the insecticide, the bees also came for them and they did not know whether to stay near Sheik or not as they feared they would also get attacked by the swarm.

“At that time she could not breathe as she is also asthmatic and so my mother took out a fan to assist her breathing before we were able to rush her to the clinic,” she said.

They were advised not to give her any medication until she was at the clinic where she would be properly supervised, she said.

Sheik’s husband, Farhad Sheik, said he was very angry with the grader operator for his negligence.

“I was at work when I was phoned by Ronal to tell me what had happened to my wife so I rushed to the Singh’s house.

“On my way there I saw people on the streets being chased by bees because the grader was still grading where the beehive was and the bees were angry with whoever passed by,” the husband said.

Sheik said his wife was given three injections to ease the swelling because she was extremely swollen after the attack.

Nurses said Sheik may have to cut her hair very short to ensure they removed all the bee stings.

Her husband said she could have died if she had been allergic.

“The Richmond Municipality must compensate her eye glasses because it was their employee’s negligence that led to this whole thing,” he said.

Later, Sheik said his wife had been discharged but she was still in pain and swollen but he was hoping and praying that she going to recover speedily.

“The doctor instructed us to monitor her closely and if she shows any signs of reacting to the medication she must be rushed to hospital where she must be looked after for 24 hours,” said Sheik.

He said the municipality would also have to foot the bill if she has to be taken to a private hospital.

“I have been to the council to report this to the municipal manager and he told me to draft a letter,” he said.

A bee expert, Dr Jason Londt, said if a person was stung by 500 bees, they had to see a doctor to be treated with antihistamines because bee venom is quite potent.

“I feel very sorry for someone who got stung by a swarm of bees because that is not very nice,” he said.

Attempts to get a comment from the Richmond Municipality were unsuccessful at the time of going to print.

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