Ways & How

How to Treat Bee and Wasp Stings

How to Treat Bee and Wasp Stings

Even though bee and wasp stings are common, they should not be taken lightly. These stings can be mildly painful at best but fatal at worst. They can cause severe allergic reactions, depending on the type of venom in the stinger. The most important part of dealing with bee and wasp stings is that you remove the stinger so that less of the venom goes into the body. If a wasp or bee stings you, here are the steps that you need to take on how to treat bee and wasp stings:

  1. Before treating any stings, get away from the area. Keep in mind that bees will only attack you if they feel threatened. After stinging you, bees will usually release a signal or a scent that will attract other bees. If you don’t want to keep getting stung, you had better get away from their territory as fast as you can.

  2. Remove stingers. Bees leave stingers, while wasps do not. If a bee stings you, it does not matter how you remove the stinger; the important thing is that you get rid of it as soon as you can. The longer it stays in your body, the more venom it can inject.

    You can pull it out with your fingers, or you can use tweezers. Just avoid pinching the stinger since that may release more venom.

  3. Assess yourself for an allergic reaction. Reactions to bee and wasp stings vary from person to person. Look for any signs of a severe allergic reaction, such as rapid pulse, restlessness, difficulty of breathing, hives or rashes, wheezing, swelling, dizziness, and sudden drop in blood pressure. If any of these symptoms are present, immediately seek medical attention by calling 911 or any local emergency number.

  4. Use an EpiPen. For a severe allergic reaction, you may need to use an epinephrine auto-injector or EpiPen if you have one. When injecting an EpiPen, target the outer muscle of the thigh and not the veins. Avoid injecting it into the buttocks since you might hit a nerve there. If there is no improvement, another injection might be needed after 10-20 minutes for adults and 5-30 minutes for children.

  5. Go to the emergency room. Even if your condition improves after injecting an EpiPen, you still need to go to an emergency room to be evaluated. You also need to go if you have been stung more than 10 times, or if there are any bee stings inside your mouth, nose, or throat. This can cause swelling and shortness of breath, even to non-allergic victims.

  6. Take medications for pain relief. For minor bee and wasp stings without allergic reactions, you can take ibuprofen or acetaminophen to relieve the pain and tenderness. You may also apply a bee sting swab. For itchiness, take an antihistamine like diphenhydramine.

  7. Control swelling. An ice pack will help control the swelling. Apply the ice pack on the bee or wasp sting for no more than 20 minutes. Applying it longer than 20 minutes can cause frostbite. If you don’t have an ice pack, you may just wrap ice cube in a towel and apply it on the skin. Another way to control swelling is to elevate the extremity where the bee or wasp stung you. If you are also wearing any jewelry near the area where you were stung, remove them as they might constrict blood flow.

Knowing how to treat bee and wasp stings can help you deal with such circumstances during emergencies. Bee and wasp stings can cause severe allergic reactions, so you should know what to do in the event that allergies happen. For minor stings, you can just take medications to relieve pain and itchiness.


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