When a bee stings someone, a venomous toxin is injected into the skin. For most people, it produces pain and other unpleasant, but non-life-threatening, symptoms. For some, however, a bee sting can trigger a potentially fatal allergic reaction. Here are some important things that you should do if you or someone else gets stung by a bee.
Remove the Stinger and Treat the Sting Site
After a honeybee stings a person, it releases its stinger into the skin. The bee then dies. Other species, such as wasps, don’t lose their stingers.
If the person was stung by a honeybee, use the edge of a fingernail or the edge of a credit card to remove the stinger and minimize the amount of venom that gets released into the skin. Then wash the area with soap and water and apply an ice pack or cold compress. That can minimize the amount of venom that gets absorbed, help keep swelling down, and reduce pain.
Be on the Lookout for Signs of an Allergic Reaction
An allergic reaction can cause hives, swelling of the tongue and throat, difficulty breathing, rapid pulse, dizziness, and loss of consciousness. For an individual who is allergic to bee stings, prompt treatment may be required. If the person has had an allergic reaction in the past and carries an Epi-Pen, administer it, and then call an ambulance or have someone drive the patient to the emergency room. If you were stung and you have an allergic reaction, don’t try to drive yourself.
Monitor the person who was stung, even if that individual has been stung in the past and didn’t have an allergic reaction. Allergies can develop at any point in life.
Wasps and other species that don’t release their stingers can sting the same individual multiple times, and someone who disturbs a bees’ nest may get stung by several bees. Keep a close eye on a person who was stung multiple times. That can increase the risk of a life-threatening reaction.
Treat Pain, Itching, and Other Symptoms
If the person doesn’t have a known allergy and isn’t showing signs of an allergic reaction, some simple at-home care may be sufficient. The area around the site of the sting may be painful, red, swollen, itchy, and warm. Motrin or Advil can prevent or reduce inflammation, and hydrocortisone cream or calamine lotion can minimize itchiness and redness. If the individual has severe itching and swelling, Benadryl or another oral antihistamine can help.
The person should resist the urge to scratch the area around the site of the sting. That can make swelling, redness, and itchiness even worse.
Stock up on First Aid Supplies
Make sure that you have essential supplies in your first aid kit so you’ll be prepared to treat a bee sting and other common problems. You can buy hydrocortisone cream, cold packs, or a complete first aid kit from 1st Aid Supplies. Place your order today.