CLOSE CALL: Tweed tow truck driver Craig Mitchelson, pictured with an EpiPen, was minutes away from death after getting stung by wasps.
CLOSE CALL: Tweed tow truck driver Craig Mitchelson, pictured with an EpiPen, was minutes away from death after getting stung by wasps.

Truck driver saved after attack of 'killer' wasps

SOUTH Tweed towie Craig Mitchelson was minutes away from death when spotted by passers-by on an isolated street near Varsity Lakes.

The grandfather of five suffered a major allergic reaction from two wasp stings and although he was well prepared with medication, he didn't use it in time.

"I was dropping a car off from Hastings to Varsity and while I was unloading it, wasps flew out of a hive in the wheel rim.

"They bit me on the neck and chest. I thought everything was going to be fine because I had an EpiPen in the truck.

"While I was driving home I tried to jab the EpiPen into my leg.

"I missed. The needle hit the bone and broke and seconds later I went out of it."

Slumped behind his steering wheel, just 800m from his job site, Mr Michelson's throat swelled and he began to suffocate.

He veered off the road and beeped his horn at strangers in a nearby parking lot.

"All I remember from there was the sensation of falling out of the truck and ambulance officers asking me what my name was," Mr Mitchelson said.

He was rushed to Robina Hospital where the doctors said he was only two minutes away from a cardiac arrest.

"This was the scariest near-death experience I've ever had.

"If I'd used the EpiPen straight away, I would've been all right."

Mr Michelson is warning others to be vigilant in managing their allergies.

"It's easy to slip up. This was only my third allergic reaction. The first one took 45 minutes to take hold and this one would have killed me in the same time frame.

"People need to make sure they take their allergies seriously," he said.

What is an epipen?

  •   Single-use syringe is self-administered and delivers one dose of adrenalin
  •   Must be administered immediately after contact with an allergen
  •   Cost is $205 per syringe, available from the pharmacy
  •   Has a 12-month use-by date


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