When Brian Baker Jr. rushed into the house and yelled he’d been stung by yellow jackets, his wife reacted quickly with an EpiPen allergy shot, cooling towels and a 911 call, reports TV station WMUR.
But the unthinkable happened anyway on the kitchen floor of their home in Winchester, New Hampshire, reports the Boston Globe.
Mandi Baker was still waiting on the ambulance when her husband stopped breathing the first time, said WMUR.
Medics arrived and performed CPR for 45 minutes to stabilize his condition, but damage had been done, according to WWLP/CNN.
He died Wednesday, July 18, in a Manchester hospital, the station reported.
Death by insect string is a fate that befalls fewer than 100 people per year, reports the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.
Baker had been doing electrical work on a deck outside his home when he was stung twice on the wrist and ankle, according to the Boston Globe.
“It took two minutes before things really progressed to the point where I personally started panicking,” his wife told the Boston Globe. “He was on the kitchen floor and I could tell he was definitely struggling.”
The family knew Baker was allergic to bee and wasp stings, but the reaction went far beyond the expected shortness of breath and drop in blood pressure, reported the Keene Sentinel.
Baker’s severe reaction, combined with the loss of oxygen, caused irreparable brain damage, the Sentinel said.
He had developed the allergy only two years earlier, and his reactions to occasional stings began to magnify, Mandi Baker told the Sentinel.
Yellow jackets are a predatory wasp that is known to be territorial, “very aggressive” and prone to sting multiple times, according to PestWorld.org.
“People who are allergic to their venom could have a severe reaction, and it is possible to become hypersensitive to yellow jackets after being stung. This sensitivity could cause a serious problem if stung again in the future,” says PestWorld.org.
Yellow jackets account for the nation’s most common type of insect sting, and it typically results only pain, redness and swelling in people who do not have allergic reactions, reports Medical News Today.