Treating a Bee Sting
How to Treat a Bee Sting: A bee sting is annoyingly painful and is quite common in outdoor settings. Bees and wasps aren’t aggressive insects and usually sting a person when they perceive a threat to their hive or they locate an intruder near their colony or nest. Noises such as those of lawn mowers and scents like perfumes also trigger bees to sting.
What does it look like when you’re stung by a bee?
When a bee stings you, the first thing you feel will be a sharp burning pain. The pain is due to the venom which the bee injects in your skin. Besides the pain, bee stings can produce local or systemic allergic reaction. You will see red welt at the sting area and if the bee left its stinger inside the skin, then it will look like a tiny black spot.
Most common reactions are redness of the area where the bee stings, swelling, itching and localized pain. There can also be a severe life-threatening allergic reaction towards bee stings which is called anaphylactic reactions.
What do you do if you’re stung by a bee?
If a bee stings you, the first thing you should do is to look for the stinger. If you find a tiny black spot at the stinging site, it’s the bee’s stinger and you should immediately remove it by swiping a credit card or blunt knife on it.
After that apply an ice pack to the affected area as this will provide mild relief from the burning pain and reduce the swelling. Then cleanse the area with soap and water, after that apply hydrocortisone cream to reduce itching and swelling.
Do bee stings need to be treated?
If you don’t have a history of allergic reactions, then you don’t need proper medical treatment for bee stings. They can be effectively treated by home remedies.
Seek medical help in the following conditions:
- If the bee sting symptoms didn’t dissipate after few days
- You started witnessing allergic symptoms like dizziness, nausea, difficulty in breathing, etc after a bee sting
- If you get multiple bee stings because accumulated venom is threatening
- If you have a history of allergic reactions towards bee stings
Five DIY Methods To Treat A Bee Sting (Infographic)
Bee stings aren’t toxic and if you don’t have allergic history to them, you will witness mild reactions like burning pain, swelling, irritation and redness which will dissipate within few hours. But still, first aid is essential to avoid painful inflammation of the affected area.
Several home remedies are effective against bee sting symptoms. You can try them on your own but the most efficient remedy is using ice packs or cold packs on the affected area. This will not only soothe out the burning pain but is also helpful against swelling and irritation.
Other handy remedies you can try on your own are the following:
- Apply a small amount of honey on the affected area; this will help in the healing wound, reducing pain and itchiness.
- A thick paste of baking soda in water is highly effective in neutralizing bee venom and in reducing pain. Apply a thick layer on the affected area and leave it for 15 minutes.
- Apply a bandage soaked in apple cider vinegar for 15 minutes to neutralize bee venom.
- Meat tenderizer is known for relieving pain and itching caused due to the bee sting. Apply a mixture of meat tenderizer in water for 30 minutes on the affected area.
- Furthermore, herbs like Aloe Vera, Lavender essential oil, witch hazel, tea tree oil and calendula cream because of their wound-healing and antiseptic properties can relieve bee symptoms.
How do you get a bee sting out?
Bee stings alone are painful enough to cause restlessness for hours, but if the bee leaves its stinger inside the victim’s skin, it’s even more harmful. As bees release venom in the victim’s skin through their stinger, if they leave them inside its important to quickly remove them to avoid further pain. Black spot at the point of sting indicates that the bee left its stinger inside.
You can get the stinger out in the following ways:
- Scrape any sharp flat edge across the stinger; this could be your credit card, a blunt knife or your fingernail. Scrapping not only will pull the stinger out but will also prevent venom sack from releasing more venom.
- Pull the stinger out of the skin with the help of a pair of tweezers. While pulling it out, take care to not squeeze the exposed part of the stinger as this will release more venom into the skin.
- People having allergic reactions towards bee stings should immediately call medical help to get rid of the stinger and receive first aid to avoid serious health issues.
Why does a bee sting hurt so much?
Bee stings hurt more than mosquito or spiders’ stings because bees release a chemical known as “Melittin” into the victim’s skin when they bite them. This toxic venom triggers the pain receptors of the victim and causes burning pain sensation. Moreover, another reason for a painful bee sting is their barbed stinger which is just like a jagger sword. If left in the victim’s skin it can keep on releasing venom for up to 10 minutes increasing the pain.
If a honey bee attacks a victim as a defense for its hive, it also releases a chemical called “pheromones”. This serves as an alarm and other bees after smelling it, sensed the danger and attack the victim together.
How can you relieve bee sting pain?
Bee stings hurt because of the venomous chemical they release in the victims’ skin. Initially, to soothe the burning skin out and reduce the swelling use an ice pack. You can also dab a little toothpaste on the affected area to calm down the burning sensation.
Besides the above-mentioned home remedies which are quite effective against bee stings, you can also apply hydrocortisone cream on the affected area as this will reduce the severity of the reaction. Moreover to relieve the painful symptoms of the bee sting you can take pain relievers like acetaminophen or ibuprofen. You can also take antihistamine tablets like diphenhydramine.
Can you die from bee stings?
No, unless you suffer from serious bee sting allergies, you won’t die from bee or wasp stings. As per research, it’s known that around 3% people have allergic reactions towards bee stings and among them, around 0.8% victims experience anaphylaxis – a life-threatening allergic reaction.
Anaphylaxis results in itching, pale skin, difficulty in breathing, abnormal pulse rate, swelling of throat and tongue, nausea, diarrhea, dizziness, and fainting. If people experience two or more such symptoms after bee sting they should immediately take emergency medical help.
Why do bees sting if they die after?
Honey bees are social insects and they live in colonies where worker bees protect the queen bee. They don’t sting out of habit but when they sense a potential threat to their colony or hive, they attack the intruder. In their self-defense, they sting the victim. Worker bees have a barbed stinger, and it is this quality which endangers their lives.
Bees when attacking an animal or human with thick skin, their stinger got stuck and they are unable to retract it, and when they forcefully leave, this causes their stinger to break along with some part of their digestive tract and abdomen. This also damages their muscles and nerves and these injuries eventually kill honey bees after they sting.