How to treat a bee sting correctly?

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I am not an expert, so this is more “In My Humble Opinion”, and is meant as advice from a layperson. As with all insect bites, it is essential to keep calm. Treat a bee sting as follows:

1. Remove stinger
In a bee sting, the stinger remains stuck in the skin. This must be removed as soon as possible. The longer the stinger is stuck in the skin, the more poison is pumped into the body from the attached venom sack. Remove the stinger with your fingernail or with the help of tweezers.

2. Do NOT suck the bee venom with your mouth!
The sting should never be sucked out with the mouth, as the poison then gets on the tongue and passes through the mucous membranes faster into the body.

3. Which body part is affected?
If the mouth, throat or neck (also externally) are affected, a doctor should be consulted immediately as the swelling may affect the air supply. Until the doctor arrives, it is important to keep calm and to cool the bee sting, for example, by sucking ice cubes.

4. If an allergy to bee stings is known or does an allergic reaction occur?
Some people are allergic to bee stings. In this case, symptoms such as nausea, headache, drop in blood pressure, large-scale skin reactions and respiratory distress to an allergic shock occur. This could be an anaphylactic reaction and could be life-threatening. In this case, Call-911 immediately! And seek emergency medical assistance ASAP, such as going to an Emergency Room (ER). Insect allergy sufferers should always carry an emergency kit with them that has been prescribed by a doctor.

5. Check the injection site
If no allergy is known or is occurring, there is less of a need to hurry. Examine the puncture site with a magnifying glass: Is there no sting? Then it is most likely not a bee, but a wasp sting. Wasp stings treatment is similar, although there is no stinger to remove. However, a wasp can sting multiple locations so the pain and effect may be more serious.

6. Symptoms, and cool the sting site
The puncture site of the bee sting should be disinfected, preferably with a disinfectant spray from the medicine chest. Then cool the bee sting with ice cubes or a cold-pack. This relieves the pain and helps against the swelling. Apply a gel with an antihistamine to cool and soothe the itching. For moderately severe symptoms, treat the inflamed bee sting with a low-dose hydrocortisone preparation that relieves pain and swelling and can be used in children 6 years of age or older.

7. When must a doctor be consulted?
If after 2-3 days no significant improvement has occurred, then you should consult a doctor.

Here are a number of other information sources for quick reference:

There are a number of antidotal treatments for bee stings using herbs, weeds, and poultices which I might cover in the future.  Plantain-weed can be used to cool a sting site and sooth the pain; I personally think this was more to distract children from the pain to look for the weed.  For me personally, the pain dissipates in a few minutes.

Happy Beekeeping, and avoid getting stung.

 

 

 

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