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How to treat a bee sting allergy

A bee sting causes pain and irritating for several hours. Often times, a sting from a bee causes a serious allergic reaction such as anaphylactic shock. The bee leaves behind its stinger in the skin and should be removed immediately to prevent infection. It can be scraped using a credit card. Avoid pinching the sting using the fingers or tweezers to prevent the spread of the venom.

Quick Tip

The material posted on this page on allergic reactions is for learning purposes only. If you suspect you are having an allergic reaction contact a medical profesional. To learn to recognize and manage allergic reactions, including severe anaphylaxis, register for a first aid and CPR course with one of our training providers in Canada.

Symptoms of a bee sting allergy

  • Red and swelling of the affected area
  • Pain at the sting site
  • Itching and burning sensations
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Swelling around the eyes, lips, throat or tongue
  • Wheezing or hoarseness
    Bee sting allergy

    Take an over-the-counter pain medication such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen to lessen the pain and inflammation.

  • Dizziness
  • Severe itching, cramping or numbness of the area
  • Stomach cramps
  • Reddish rash or hives
  • Loss of consciousness

Treatment

  • Remove the stinger immediately by scraping it out using a card. Avoid pinching the stinger to prevent squeezing more venom out of the venom sac which is found at the end of the stinger.
  • Take an over-the-counter pain medication such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen to lessen the pain and inflammation.
  • Mix a few drops of water on baking soda. Mix well to become a paste and apply on the affected skin. In case baking soda is not available, run cold water on the affected area.
  • Place ice cubes in a plastic bag and wrap it using a small towel. Apply this on the affected area for at least 20 minutes. The cold constricts the blood vessels which can slow down the flow of blood that contains the bee venom. It also lessens the itchiness and numbs the pain.
  • Apply toothpaste on the affected area to minimize the itchiness of the skin.
  • Mix baking soda, vinegar and meat tenderizer to create a paste and apply on the affected area. Meat tenderizer has enzyme called papain that eliminates the toxins found in the venom of bees.

Tips

  • Cover tightly food containers and trash cans.
  • Wear close-toed shoes when walking outside.
  • Be careful when drinking sweet beverages outside. Open wide the coverings of the cans so that bees can be seen immediately if they are inside.
  • Throw away garbage, fallen fruit and animal feces to prevent flies from attracting wasp and other insects.
  • Avoid wearing bright or printed clothes to prevent attracting bees.
  • Avoid wearing loose fitting clothes to prevent trapping of bees between the clothes and the skin.
  • Remove hives and nest near the house
  • When riding in a vehicle, close the windows to prevent bees from entering.
  • If a few bees are flying around, avoid swatting them. Simply stay calm and walk away from the area.
  • If a bee or wasp stings a person and there are many insects flying around, cover the mouth and nose and leave the area immediately and get inside a building or a closed vehicle.

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