When a bee stings, it injects venom into your skin. woombikes This venom causes the pain, itching and swelling that people experience after getting stung.
Most people will experience a sharp, burning pain and a red welt at the site of the sting. This will typically resolve within a few hours, but some may develop more severe reactions.
In most cases, a sting from a bee or wasp does not require any medical care. But if you have a severe reaction to the venom, such as hives, trouble breathing or a fast heartbeat, it is recommended that you seek emergency medical help.
There are a few things you can do to help ease the pain and discomfort of a bee sting. The most important thing is to get the stinger out as quickly as possible.
Honeybee stingers, which contain a venom sac attached to the tip, are different from those left behind by other stinging insects, such as wasps or hornets. The venom sacs remain on the stinger as it pumps venom into your skin, so you will want to remove the stinger immediately. You can do this by scraping the stinger with your fingernail, credit card or other firm, flat object, says Dr. Fertel, an allergist at the University of Maryland.
If the stinger is not removed, you could end up with a serious allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. This condition, which affects only about 5 percent of the population, is often fatal. It requires immediate treatment and can be life threatening, so it is essential that you carry an epinephrine autoinjector with you at all times, such as an EpiPen or Auvi-Q.
Epinephrine is a drug that can counter your body’s reaction to the venom, so it opens your airways and helps stabilize your blood pressure. It also has antihistamine properties that can reduce the itching and swelling you will experience.
Other over-the-counter products or a cold compress can also ease the symptoms of a bee sting. If the sting is on your arm or leg, elevate it to decrease the swelling.
It is also a good idea to apply hydrocortisone cream or calamine lotion to the sting site to ease redness and itching. This will reduce the chances of infection and speed up the healing process.
You can also apply ice to the sting for 10 minutes every hour, which will relieve pain and swelling. A cold compress can also help with itching, but avoid using ice on an open wound because the temperature may worsen a wound that is already infected.
A small amount of honey applied to the sting site can relieve itching and reduce inflammation. The natural antibacterial properties of honey also can prevent infections and speed up healing.
In addition to removing the stinger, you can wash the sting area gently with warm water. This will help clean out the venom and reduce the likelihood of a secondary bacterial infection.
It is also important to keep a close eye on the person who was stung. Those who have a severe reaction to a bee sting should seek emergency medical attention immediately, and if you have an EpiPen, use it as directed by your doctor.