Bee Stings: What to Do When You Get Stung

African Honey Bee Drawn By Cool Drink in Glass

African Honey Bee Drawn By Cool Drink in Glass

When summer is in full bloom one thing is certain – bees will be buzzing around. Most bees are too focused on working to pay attention to people, but if you get near their hive or start swatting they’ll go into protection mode and starting stinging.

Our professional pest control technicians are used to getting stings and know exactly how to handle them. Keep reading to get our step-by-step guide to treating bee stings.

Act Immediately When There’s an Allergic Reaction

Research from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has found that only 1-2 people out of every 1,000 are allergic to bee and wasp stings. If you have a known allergy or have any of the symptoms of an allergic reaction seek medical assistance immediately by calling 9-1-1.

How do you know if a person is having an allergic reaction to a bee sting? Look for these warning signs:

  • Shortness of breath or trouble breathing
  • Swelling in a spot other than the sting site
  • Swollen tongue
  • Tightness in the chest
  • Hives or a rash appear
  • Feeling faint or dizzy
  • Nausea and/or vomiting

If bee stings are left untreated it can cause a life-threatening condition known as anaphylaxis. If a person has epinephrine medication, administer an injection immediately. A second injection can be given 5-15 minutes later if the medics haven’t arrived and the person’s condition hasn’t improved. When in doubt, it’s always best to err on the side of caution and go to the emergency room.

For all other bee stings follow the steps below to treat the affected area and kill the pain.

Step-by-Step Guide to Treating a Bee Sting

Bee stings hurt. Even our tough as nails technicians will tell you that the venom isn’t anything to play around with. Proteins in the venom affect the immune system along with the skin that’s stung. It’s almost unimaginable to think that the human body can withstand up to 10 stings per pound of body weight. That means most adults can handle 1,100+ bee stings. That leads us to step number one.

Step #1 – Don’t Freak Out

The vast majority of bee sting situations aren’t emergencies. Keeping your cool can actually help you avoid getting stung again because you’re less likely to agitate the other bees.

Step #2 – Remove the Stinger

When a bee stings a person the barbed stinger is usually embedded in the skin and can continue pumping out venom after it disconnects from the bee’s body. You’ll need to get it out, but you have to be very careful.

You should see a small white spot where the stinger punctured through the skin and a bit of swelling around the sting site. The stinger has to be removed gently so that more venom doesn’t get squeezed into the wound. Instead of using your fingers or tweezers, scrape the stinger out with your fingernail or a credit card.

Step #3 – Remove Jewelry

If swelling occurs jewelry can tighten and restrict blood flow. Remove all rings and bracelets right away to prevent this problem.

Step #4 – Clean the Sting

After the stinger is removed clean the sting site with a mild soap and water.

Step #5 – Apply Ice and Elevate

The first symptoms that occur are pain and swelling. You can minimize both by immediately icing the sting for 10 minutes. If an appendage was stung keep it elevated above the heart.

Step #6 – Take an OTC Painkiller

An over-the-counter anti-inflammatory painkiller should be enough to minimize the pain around the sting site.

Step #7 – Eliminate Itchiness

Once the pain has subsided the area around the sting may start to itch. An antihistamine medication can help control the sensation. You can also apply calamine lotion to the area.

Step #8 – Wait and Watch

Mild reactions to a bee sting will cause pain and swelling that lasts for a few hours. A moderate reaction can take 5-10 days for symptoms to completely resolve. If symptoms don’t start to improve within a few days you may need to follow up with a doctor.

Reduce the risks of getting stung this summer with custom pest control treatments from Vulcan Termite and Pest Control Inc. Our team of experts can help Central Alabama homeowners safely remove bee nests that are outdoors or even in the walls of a structure.

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