Treatment of Bee Stings


The Mayo Clinic offers these tips for treatment of bee and wasp stings:

Treatment for minor reactions

To sting, a bee jabs a barbed stinger into the skin. Removing the stinger and its attached venom sac right away will keep more venom from being released.
• Remove the stinger as soon as you can, as it takes only seconds for all of the venom to enter your body. Get the stinger out any way you can, such as with your fingernails or tweezers.
• Wash the sting area with soap and water.
• Apply cold compresses or ice to relieve pain and ease swelling.

Treatment for moderate reactions
The following steps may help ease the swelling and itching often associated with large local reactions:

• Remove the stinger as soon as possible.
• Wash the area with soap and water.
• Apply cold compresses or ice.
• Apply hydrocortisone cream or calamine lotion to ease redness, itching or swelling.
• If itching or swelling is bothersome, take an oral antihistamine that contains diphenhydramine (Benadryl) or chlorpheniramine (Chlor-Trimeton).
• Avoid scratching the sting area. This will worsen itching and swelling and increase your risk of infection.

Emergency treatment for allergic reactions
If someone is having an allergic reaction, call 911 immediately. During an anaphylactic attack, an emergency medical team may perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) if the person stops breathing or the heart stops beating, and medications will be administered.
Call 911 if the person has:

• Trouble breathing
• Feelings of faintness or dizziness
• Hives
• A swollen tongue
• A history of severe allergy reaction to insect stings
• Inject epinephrine if the person is unable to.