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Bee sting

  • Overview


    Bee stings can be a common annoyance when spending time outdoors. Usually, they are not severe and can be treated with simple home remedies to alleviate pain. However, if you are allergic to bee stings or are stung multiple times, you may experience a more severe reaction that requires immediate medical attention.

    You can take several precautions to prevent bee, hornet, and wasp stings. Additionally, knowing how to treat a sting if you get stung properly is essential.

  • Symptoms


    When stung by a bee, the reaction can vary from temporary pain and discomfort to a severe allergic response. It’s important to note that experiencing one type of reaction does not guarantee that you will always have the same answer in the future, nor does it mean that subsequent replies will be more severe.
    Mild reaction
    Bee sting symptoms are usually minor, such as an instant, sharp burning pain at the sting site, a red welt at the sting area, and slight swelling around the sting site. Most individuals experience relief from the swelling and pain within a few hours.
    Moderate reaction
    Sometimes when people are stung by an insect like a bee, they may have a stronger reaction with symptoms like extreme redness and swelling at the sting site that gradually increases over the next day or two. This is considered a moderate reaction and typically resolves within five to ten days. It’s important to note that a reasonable reaction doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll have a severe allergic reaction in the future. However, some people may experience mild reactions each time they’re stung. If this happens, it’s best to talk to your doctor about treatment and prevention, significantly if the reaction worsens.
    Severe allergic reaction
    Anaphylaxis, a severe allergic reaction to bee stings, necessitates immediate medical attention because it can potentially be fatal. A small minority of those stung by bees or other insects immediately have anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis symptoms and signs include:
    Hives, itching, and flushed or pale skin are just some reactions.
    Having trouble breathing.
    The throat and tongue swelling.
    Weak, erratic heartbeat.
    Diarrhea, vomiting, or nauseous.
    Fainting or vertigo.
    Consciousness loss.

    If you possess a severe bee sting allergy, you will likely suffer from anaphylaxis during future stings, with the probability ranging from 25% to 65%. You must seek counsel from your doctor or an allergy specialist to discuss prevention measures such as immunotherapy (known as “allergy shots”) to deter a similar reaction in the event of future stings.
    Multiple bee stings
    Bees and wasps, for example, are often not aggressive and only sting in self-defence. This typically causes one or a few stings. A person may occasionally disturb a hive or swarm of bees and receive several stings as a result. Some bee species are more likely to swarm or sting in a group than others, such as honeybees that have undergone Africanization.

    The buildup of venom from more than a dozen stings may cause a severe reaction and make you feel pretty ill. Some warning signs and symptoms are:
    Diarrhea, vomiting, or nauseous
    A dizziness-like sensation
    Fainting or vertigo

    Children, senior citizens, and those with respiratory or heart issues may have multiple stings and require immediate medical attention.

  • When to see a doctor


    Bee stings typically don’t necessitate a trip to the doctor. You’ll require quick care if the situation is more serious.

    If you are experiencing a severe anaphylactic reaction to a bee sting, even if it is only one or two signs or symptoms, call 911 or other emergency services. Use an emergency epinephrine autoinjector (such as an EpiPen, Auvi-Q, or another brand) as soon as possible, according to your doctor’s instructions.

    If bees have swarmed you and you’ve been stung several times, get medical help immediately. Set up a consultation with your doctor if:
    The effects of a bee sting don’t go away in a few days.
    Other symptoms of an allergic reaction to a bee sting have appeared.

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  • Causes


    When a bee stings, it inserts a barbed stinger into the skin. The venom from the bee sting contains proteins that impact the skin cells and the immune system, leading to pain and swelling around the affected area. The bee venom can result in a severe immune system response for individuals with a bee sting allergy.

  • Risk factors


    Are you aware that your chances of getting stung by a bee are higher if:
    If you live somewhere where bees are particularly busy or if there are beehives nearby, you’re more likely to get stung by bees.
    Your hobbies or work demands you to spend time outside.

    If you’ve ever experienced an allergic reaction to a bee sting, you’re more likely to get one no matter how mild.

    Adults frequently experience more severe reactions than children and have a higher mortality rate from anaphylaxis.

  • Prevention


    You can lessen your chance of getting stung by bees by using the following advice:
    When consuming sugary beverages outside, use caution. Because you can see if a bee is inside, wide, open cups might be your best bet. Before using a can or a straw, check them.
    Cover trash cans and food containers tightly.
    Remove trash, fallen fruit, dog or other animal waste, and insect droppings (flies can draw wasps).
    When heading outside, put on closed-toe shoes.
    Avoid wearing bright colours or floral prints since they may draw bees.
    Loose clothing can trap bees between the fabric and your skin, so avoid doing so.
    Keep your windows rolled up while driving.
    Be cautious when cutting the grass or trimming the shrubs because these actions could elicit insects from a beehive or wasp nest.
    Have a professional remove any hives or nests close to your house.

    Know what to do if you come into contact with bees:
    If a few bees buzz around you, maintain your composure and carefully leave the area. An insect may sting if you swat it.
    Cover your mouth and nose if a bee or wasp stings you or if many insects start to fly around, and leave the area immediately. A substance is released by a bee after it stings, luring additional bees to the site. Get inside a closed vehicle or a structure if you can.

  • *Please note that the information provided in the article is for reference purposes only. It is essential to consult a doctor before applying any of the suggestions mentioned.

Content Details

Medical info from Mayo Clinic, for reference only. Visit Hoan My for better advice.

Last updated on: 07/08/2023