Below you will find information about:
Unless a person has a sensitivity, most people will experience normal reactions to bee stings. That is, they'll merely find them to be temporary, painful experiences requiring no more than basic first aid which you can easily do at home.
For some people, however, there is real cause for concern, because symptoms can be more severe, and if not a medical emergency, then at requiring at least some assistance from a healthcare professional.
If you are concerned about wasp or bee sting reactions in future, I recommend you could consider keeping a venom extractor kit at home in your first aid cabinet.
These work by removing the poison or venom from beneath the skin, and can even be used for mosquito bites, wasp stings and snake bites (be sure to follow the instructions for use).
Most commonly, a bee sting occurs:
Symptoms you may encounter following a bee sting could include urticaria (nettle rash), itching, and general flushing (redness) of the skin area immediately around the sting.
You should try not to scratch the area too much, or it may become infected. Apply an ice pack to relieve the pain.
If you think your reaction to the sting is normal, and you would like information about how to reduce normal swelling, visit the first aid page, or you may prefer to read this article first.
How long will the swelling last?
What about when a bee sting is infected?
Bee stings can be dangerous! Seek medical assistance for more serious reactions to
Here is when you need to worry:
I do not wish to be alarmist, and it is important to get things into perspective. Every year, lightning and flu kill more people in the US than bee stings do. Even humans are more dangerous to fellow humans than bees are! See Bee Sting Facts.
However, it's nevertheless a good idea to be aware of severe symptoms in the case of a dangerous reaction.
What is anaphylaxis?
Anaphylaxis, is a state of shock (anaphylactic shock) or collapse that occurs when a person who is sensitive to a substance that causes allergic reaction, is then exposed to it.
Medical attention must be sought immediately, as it can be fatal.
symptoms of anaphylaxis include nausea, vomiting, chest wheeze,
confusion, falling blood pressure, feeling dizzy, rapid heart rate, and unconsciousness.
Treatment of Anaphylaxis
For those who are very sensitive to stings, anaphylaxis can occur within seconds or minutes, is very serious, and is a medical emergency.
Whilst awaiting medical treatment, a collapsed victim should be placed in the recovery position, with airways cleared and dentures removed. The person should have their clothing loosened, and must be kept warm.
If you are aware that you or a loved one has a severe allergy to bee stings such as this, you should carry an Epi-pen.
In addition, it is a good idea whilst out and about to wear or carry something that would alert other people to your allergy in the event of a stinging incident, such as a charm or keyring.
Be especially vigilant if your baby, child or toddler is stung, see the first aid information on this site, monitor the symptoms, and do not hesitate to seek medical assistance if necessary.
usually occur as a defensive reaction when a bee feels threatened, but
note that the sting from some species is thought to be more painful than
others, and not all bees are able to sting (males cannot, and some
species do not sting at all).
For example, a honey bee sting is barbed, and could hurt quite a bit, whereas a sting from a solitary bee (already a rare occurence for most species in the first place) is generally thought to be far less painful. A wasp sting is thought to be more painful than either.
It is also possible to be bitten by another insect species, such as a horsefly, and experience some similar or more severe symptoms, and mistakenly blame the bee, when it is not the case.
However, in any event, it is a good idea to be aware of the levels of different symptoms, in order to know what action to take.
Stings from Africanized Honey Bees
If you’re in the USA, you may have heard of africanized honey bees, sometimes referred to as killer bees. However, their stings are not more venomous than other honey bees, but they may attack in swarms, causing severe reactions and requiring the need for medical treatment.
I have comprehensive pages with information about prenting wasp stings and bee stings - after all, prevention is better than cure:
Apiphobia is fear of bees and bee stings. For assistance and help, please see this dedicated page.
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