Wearing insect repellent, avoiding the outdoors, or covering yourself with long sleeves, pants, and shoes can reduce your risk of being stung, but one sting only takes a quick moment. Unfortunately, everyone reacts differently to a sting, so it is important to know about your own health and how you will react. While surprising to learn, an estimated 3.3 percent of adults will experience anaphylaxis after a sting, which can be life-threatening. Therefore, taking the proper first-aid steps is crucial if you or a loved one has been stung by a bee. With this guide, you will know what to do after a bee sting.
Know Signs of Allergic Reaction
Whether you or a loved one has been stung, you need to know the signs of an allergic reaction. Knowing these signs will ensure immediate medical attention is administered, which can save a life.
An allergic reaction may be occurring if you notice the following signs:
In most cases, these signs indicate anaphylaxis, which is an allergic reaction that affects the entire body. Without immediate emergency care, anaphylaxis can prevent you from breathing while increasing the risk of heart issues.
Address the Sting
If no signs of a reaction are occurring, addressing the skin that has been stung will still be necessary. Inspect the skin to determine if the stinger is still embedded in the skin. In some instances, the stinger may fall out. If the stinger is still in the skin, use a flat tool or credit card to scrape it from the skin. Pulling the stinger out with tweezers is not recommended, since the squeezing and pulling motion can cause venom to be released into the skin.
After removing the stinger, cleanse the skin with warm water and hand soap. Be sure to rinse the would thoroughly to remove any traces of the stinger or venom.
Ease the Skin
A bee sting is painful for some while others may only experience some slight discomfort. Light swelling and redness around the sting is normal. To ease the discomfort and reduce swelling, place a cold compress on the area and hold in place for a few minutes after cleaning. If the skin is still red or you are feeling the need to itch the area, apply an antihistamine cream to the area daily.
With proper understanding and care, a bee sting does not have to be overwhelming or deadly. To determine if you have a stinging insect allergy beforehand, consult an allergy specialist.