Kyle Richards is recovering from a scary weekend. The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star “walked into a hive of bees” on her property and needed to be hospitalized, she revealed on Instagram. Richards is severely allergic to bees, she explained, and the EpiPen she relies on to treat allergic reactions didn’t work.
“So this happened yesterday,” Richards wrote alongside a photo of her in a hospital bed on her Instagram Stories. “I walked into a hive of bees and was stung multiple times. If you know me at all you know I am allergic to bees and terrified of them.”
The bees were “in my hair and literally chasing me,” Richards continued. “My family wasn’t home and for whatever reason the people who work for me couldn’t hear me screaming for help. My landline wouldn’t dial and my EpiPen was defective and wouldn’t open.”
It’s normal to have a painful or irritated reaction to stings from certain insects, including wasps, honeybees, hornets, yellow jackets, and fire ants. But some people, like Richards, are actually allergic to the stings.
If someone who is allergic to insect stings actually gets stung, they can experience pain, itching, redness, swelling, and hives, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (ACAAI). In the most severe cases, they can develop anaphylaxis, which is a life-threatening condition that can cause difficulty breathing and a sudden drop in blood pressure.
In the event of an insect sting, people with allergies to those stings can be treated with injectable epinephrine (an EpiPen), the ACAAI says. That’s why doctors advise people who have a known allergy to insects (or other severe allergies) to carry an EpiPen with them at all times—just in case.
“I share this story with you because I sometimes don’t bother to take my EpiPen with me,” Richards explained in the posts, adding that she’s still not sure why hers didn’t work. “It’s important to look [at the instructions] on the tube and watch videos of how to use it. There are different types of EpiPens and they each work differently,” Richards advised. “But also always call 911 even if you are able to use your EpiPen as they have to use other medications to help breathing etc.”
The ACAAI agrees: Even if you or someone you’re with is able to use an EpiPen to treat an allergic reaction, you should still seek immediate medical help at the first sign of anaphylaxis. And it’s a good idea to follow up with an allergist later.
Richards also shared photos of the bees on her property as well as security footage of her jumping in the pool to get rid of the bees (“This is the part I can laugh at now”). And she thanked the emergency medical team that took care of her—“including helping me through my panic attack,” she said. “And for repeatedly having to convince me there were no more bees in my hair.”