Bee stings are a common occurrence when you stay outdoors. In most cases, bee stings are just irritating, and home treatment is all that’s necessary to ease the pain of bee stings. But some people will have a more severe allergic reaction. This can range from generalized painful swelling of a whole arm or leg for a week or more, to an anaphylactic reaction affecting the whole body.
Severe bee sting allergy can cause a rash over the body, swelling of the throat or tongue, restriction of breathing, diarrhoea, vomiting, a serious drop in blood pressure and even death.
Bee stings are always painful. However, if a bee sting victim had any allergic reactions to bee stings in the past, they have a higher chance of showing signs of possible anaphylaxis. Thus a life-threatening allergic reaction. The symptoms of an allergic reaction include hives, nausea, dizziness, a tight feeling in the chest, or difficulty breathing. A person who has these symptoms needs medical attention right away.
Treating Bee Stings
The first thing to do is to get the stinger out quickly. The longer the stinger stays in the skin, the more venom it releases, adding to the person’s pain and swelling.
To treat a sting from a bee, wasp, or hornet, dermatologists recommend the following tips:
Although most bees usually only sting once, wasps and hornets can sting again. If you are stung, calmly walk away from the area to avoid additional attacks.
Remove the stinger
If the stinger remains in your skin, remove it by scraping over it with your fingernail or a piece of gauze. Never use tweezers to remove a stinger, as squeezing it can cause more venom to release into your skin. Wash the sting with soap and water.
Apply a cold pack to reduce swelling
However, if the swelling moves to other parts of your body, such as your face or neck, go to the emergency room immediately, as you might be having an allergic reaction. Other signs of an allergic reaction include difficulty breathing, nausea, hives, or dizziness.
Consider taking over-the-counter pain medication
Bee, wasp, and hornet stings are painful. Painkillers like acetaminophen or ibuprofen can help relieve the pain. Always follow the directions on the label and use the correct dose.
Although most people do not experience severe reactions to bee stings, it’s a good idea to keep an eye on anyone who has been stung. To know in case they develop more serious symptoms. If you notice any signs of an allergic reaction, or if you or someone you know has been stung multiple times particularly if he or she is a child, seek medical attention immediately.
When To Seek Medical Help For Bee Stings
Seek prompt medical care if you develop symptoms such as:
- swelling around the lips and eyes
- rapid development of a rash
- shortness of breath or wheezing
- chest tightness
- severe dizziness or faints
- persistent sneezing or coughing
- hoarse voice
- difficulty swallowing or throat tightness
- signs of shock (pale skin, rapid pulse and fainting).
Prevention Of Bee Stings
The following tips can help reduce your risk of getting stung by bees:
- Take care when drinking sweet beverages outside. Wide, open cups may be your best option because you can see if a bee is in them. Inspect cans and straws before drinking from them.
- Tightly cover food containers and trash cans.
- Clear away garbage, fallen fruit, and dog or other animal feces (flies can attract wasps).
- Wear close-toed shoes when walking outside.
- Don’t wear bright colors or floral prints, which can attract bees.
- Don’t wear loose clothing, which can trap bees between the cloth and your skin.
- When driving, keep your windows rolled up.
- Be careful when mowing the lawn or trimming vegetation, activities that might arouse insects in a beehive or wasp nest.
- Have hives and nests near your home removed by a professional.
Know what to do when you’re exposed to bees:
- If a few bees are flying around you, stay calm and slowly walk away from the area. Swatting at an insect may cause it to sting.
- If a bee or wasp stings you, or many insects start to fly around, cover your mouth and nose and quickly leave the area. When a bee stings, it releases a chemical that attracts other bees. If you can, get into a building or closed vehicle.