What you Need to Know about Bee Sting Treatment

November 12, 2012

What you Need to Know about Bee Sting Treatment

When we refer to bee string treatment here, we are referring to bumble bees as opposed to wasps, yellow jackets and hornets. Wasps, yellow jackets and hornets are another matter. Wasps, yellow jackets and hornets inject their venom through a stinger that is retractable so they can sting repeatedly. On the other hand, bumble bees or honey bees leave their stingers in you along with a venom sack. Honey bees stings are usually uneventful however, if you are allergic to the venom may cause a serious response known as anaphylaxis which calls for immediate medical attention.

Bee sting treatment depends on the number of bee stings, location of sting and severity. Most bee stings are confined to the area of the sting and present with local swelling, itching and/or burning. Any pain usually disappears several hours later and the inflammation tends to go a way within a day or so. If the reaction spreads to a larger area, you may experience more pain, redness and a hot area which may take a week or more to go away. These stings are referred to as large local reactions but are usually no more to worry about than the localized form. If a bee sting becomes systemic, it is affecting the entire body and requires immediate medical attention. These are known as allergic responses that have a number of symptoms. Depending on the individual, different sets of symptoms may appear. Rashes may occur locally as well as distally, raised rashes such as hives may occur, swelling of the lips, tongue, face and/or throat, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, respiratory problems, loss of consciousness and/or diarrhea. These symptoms call for serious bee sting treatment.

If an individual experiences breathing complications, they are experiencing an anaphylactic reaction. This in turn can lower their blood pressure due to a shunt of blood to the liver and cause shock. This individual may become unconscious and stop breathing. This type reaction generally occurs within a few minutes of being stung. These individuals usually become more susceptible to bee stings once they have been stung. They need to consult with their healthcare provider about carrying around injectable epinephrine to stop the allergic response immediately to prevent death.

Barring an individual that is allergic to bee stings, bee sting treatment is simple and straight forward. Remember with bumble/honey bee stings, their stingers will be left in you. So, the first thing you want to do is to find it and pull it out with whatever you have around. The sooner the better. The venom sack can continue releasing venom for several minutes. Now is a good time to use a cold pack on the sting area to help remove the inflammation. Then, clean the swollen area with some soap and water and dry well. If you have some hydrocortisone, apply that next. Some people use a meat tenderizer mixed in water and apply it to the sting area. This has an enzyme that will break down the bee venom. If you have an antihistamine around the house, you might want to take a tablet to help relieve symptoms of inflammation. This is also true of non-steroidal anti-inflammatories such as aspirin or ibuprofen.

On the last note, if a bee sting in in the mouth, nose or eye, it is best to get bee sting treatment at the hospital or doctors office even if the person is not allergic. Inflammation in the mouth, throat or nose area may impair ability to breath.

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