FIRST AID TREATMENT FOR BEE STINGS: A bee sting is the wound and pain caused by the stinger of a female bee puncturing skin. Bee stings differ from insect bites, with the venom of stinging insects having considerable chemical variation.
SYMPTOMS OF A BEE STINGS
Bee stings can produce different reactions, ranging from temporary pain and discomfort to a severe allergic reaction. Having one type of reaction doesn’t mean you’ll always have the same reaction every time you’re stung or that the next reaction will necessarily be more severe.
- Instant, sharp burning pain at the sting site
- A red welt at the sting area
- Slight swelling around the sting area
- In most people, the swelling and pain go away within a few hours.
- Extreme redness
- Swelling at the site of the sting that gradually enlarges over the next day or two.
- Some of these reactions tend to resolve over five to 10 days.
Severe allergic reaction
A severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) to bee stings is potentially life threatening and requires emergency treatment. A small percentage of people who are stung by a bee or other insect quickly develop anaphylaxis. Signs and symptoms of anaphylaxis include:
- Skin reactions, including hives and itching and flushed or pale skin
- Difficulty breathing
- Swelling of the throat and tongue
- A weak, rapid pulse
- Nausea, vomiting or diarrhea
- Dizziness or fainting
- Loss of consciousness
People who have a severe allergic reaction to a bee sting have a 25% to 65% chance of anaphylaxis the next time they’re stung. Talk to your doctor or an allergy specialist about prevention measures such as immunotherapy (“allergy shots”) to avoid a similar reaction in case you get stung again.
MULTIPLE BEE STINGS
Generally, insects such as bees aren’t aggressive, only sting in self-defense. In most cases, this results in one or perhaps a few stings. In some cases a person will disrupt a hive or swarm of bees and get multiple stings. Some types of bees such as Africanized honeybees are more likely than are other bees to swarm, stinging in a group.
If you get stung more than a dozen times, the accumulation of venom may induce a toxic reaction and make you feel quite sick. Signs and symptoms include:
- Nausea, vomiting or diarrhea
- A feeling of spinning (vertigo)
- Dizziness or fainting
Multiple stings can be a medical emergency in children, older adults, and people who have heart or breathing problems.
FIRST AID TREATMENT FOR BEE STINGS
Treating bee and wasp stings depends on their severity. The majority of problems that require medical attention come from an allergic reaction to the sting. In most cases, complications from that reaction respond well to medications — when given in time.
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:
- Stay calm: 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.
- Avoid scratching the sting area. This will worsen itching and swelling and increase your risk of infection.
- Try to elevate the affected area to reduce further swelling
- Apply hydrocortisone cream or calamine lotion to ease redness, itching or swelling.
PREVENTION OF BEE STINGS
Below are some tips for bee sting prevention:
- Wear light-colored, smooth-finished clothing.
- Avoid perfumed soaps, shampoos, and deodorants.
- Don’t wear cologne or perfume.
- Avoid bananas and banana-scented toiletries.
- Wear clean clothing and bathe daily. (Sweat may anger bees.)
- Wear clothing to cover as much of the body as possible.
- Avoid flowering plants when possible.
- Remain calm and still if a single stinging insect is flying around. (Swatting at an insect may cause it to sting.)
- If several stinging insects attack you at once, run to get away from them. (Bees release a chemical when they sting, which may attract other bees.)
- A shaded area is better than an open area to get away from the insects.
- If you are able to physically move out of the area, do not to attempt to jump into water. Some insects (particularly Africanized Honey Bees) are known to hover above the water, continuing to sting once you surface for air.
- If a bee comes inside your vehicle, stop the car slowly, and open all the windows.
- Workers with a history of severe allergic reactions to insect bites or stings should consider carrying an epinephrine auto injector (EpiPen) and should wear a medical identification bracelet or necklace stating their allergy.
- Use insect repellent sprays. Citronella is less aggressive for the skin but generally does not have the same repelling effect as repellent.
- Be aware of surroundings. Listen for buzzing ,and look for nests or hives. Check long grass and low hanging branches before mowing, especially in late summer when yellow jackets are most aggressive.
- If attacked, move away from any nest they are trying to protect.
- Prevention is better than cure.
- Prevent bee stings to the feet by keeping feet covered.
- Bumble bee foraging on wild rose.
- Leave bee nests alone.
- Eating outdoors? Keep face and hands clean and dry – and free of food! Clean away spillages on clothes. Take a packet of wet wipes with you when out and about, and dry the hands and face after wiping clean.
- Ask a beekeeper to deal with a honeybee swarm.
- Repellents can also be used in the home or in the garden around picnic areas.
- Avoid sitting, standing or eating in areas where bees may gather.
- Install a Waspinator.