Who doesn’t like to play in the garden or the park every once in a while? When summer arrives, marking the end of the winter, it’s only natural to want to explore and finally feel some warmth and sunlight on your skin. But some critters are as eager to see the first rays of sun in summer as you are: the bees. It’s not uncommon to find them flying around the same places where people are.
On occasion, the summer adventures of bees may include stinging people, though they only sting when they feel threatened in some way. A good number of people have had painful experiences with bee stings and won’t forget such experiences in a hurry.
Sadly, some bee stings really are more painful than others. Depending on how they’re managed, some may even be fatal. According to medical experts, you can avoid unpleasant experiences from poorly managed stings if you know what to do – and do it immediately.
Keep in mind that treating a sting quickly and immediately will often alleviate the pain and discomfort that come with it.
What should you do when you or someone around you is stung by a bee? Read on and let us show you tested and proven first aid methods to deal with bee stings.
1. Take the stinger out immediately.
Only honey bees leave their stingers behind. Bumblebee stingers are smooth and don’t get stuck in the skin. The stinger is usually visible. You may find some of the flesh torn from the bee still attached. In some instances, the bee may remain attached to their stinger as well.
If you notice a stinger, it’s very important to remove it. You don’t need any special skill or tools of any kind to remove a bee stinger.
If you have a credit card handy, you can just take the card and scrape the stinger out of your skin. Some people have suggested that this way is even way more effective than trying to pinch out the stinger, but some scientists don’t agree. They believe that taking the stinger out as quickly as possible is what’s most important. So, using a credit card may not be as reliable in this kind of situation, where time is a major factor. Your fingernails may be better the options in some cases. The major concern when using tweezers or your fingernails is that you may accidentally squeeze the venom sac. This would push more venom into your body, which is especially dangerous if you’re allergic to bees.
No matter which option you choose, try not to pinch the stinger. Sweep it out instead.
2. Wash the wound with water and soap.
Taking the stinger out is just one part of the first aid process. Washing the venom away is another important part. The soap will also help prevent infection.
3. Apply an ice pack or another cold compress.
The cold will help reduce any itching, pain, or swelling.
4. Be on the lookout for any allergy symptoms.
Looking out for symptoms of allergies after a bee sting is important, even if you’ve been stung before and didn’t have a reaction. These reactions can develop quickly, worsen, and may even become fatal if left untreated. Keep an eye out for any of the following symptoms:
- Wheezing or difficulty in breathing
- Swollen face, tongue, or throat
- A decline in blood pressure, fainting, or dizziness
- Skin reactions (e.g., rashes, paleness, itching, flushing, or hives)
- A weak and fast pulse
- Vomiting, nausea, or diarrhea
- Loss of consciousness
You should also take antihistamines, like Benadryl, for severe itching from a bee sting even if you don’t develop an allergic reaction.
5. Having an allergic reaction? Call 911!
If you notice any of the symptoms listed above, don’t wait. Call for help immediately. While you wait for help to arrive, you should take an antihistamine like Benadryl or any other one you have on hand before something unpleasant happens. And if you have an EpiPen, use it.
Some Home Remedies You Can Try
Elevate the affected limbs.
If you’ve been stung on the leg, you should elevate that leg immediately. Prop your leg up on a set of pillows so that it’s above your heart. If you were stung on the arm, place your arm at a higher level than your heart. Doing this will help reduce the swelling.
Use baking soda paste.
Make a paste by mixing 1/4 cup baking soda (aluminum-free) with 1-2 teaspoons of water. Apply this to the affected area. Reapply every 15 minutes, approximately. Doing this can neutralize the acidic venom, reduce swelling, and soothe the pain.
Use meat tenderizer.
Mix one part meat tenderizer with four parts water and apply this to the sting. Leave the mixture on for about 30 minutes. This remedy should reduce pain and itching.
When applied to the affected area, the tingling sensation from the toothpaste can reduce the itchy feeling of the sting.
Use apple cider vinegar.
Soak the sting in apple cider vinegar for a minimum of 15 minutes to neutralize the acidity of the venom.