Columbia Allergist Sanjeev Jain, an allergist and immunologist, revealed that when a bee stings you, the sharp tip of its sting gets stuck in your skin and releases the venom to protect itself. Pain, swelling, warmth, and redness around the sting.
And if you’re not allergic to bee stings, these minor symptoms should clear up in a few hours or days, but if you’re allergic to bee venom, your immune system does.
So if you have been stung by multiple bees or have any of the following symptoms: a rash outside the site of the sting, severe itching, nausea or vomiting, difficulty breathing, swelling of the lips, tongue or face, headache, dizziness, coughing or choking sensation, pain Chest or palpitations, loss of consciousness» Seek emergency medical attention immediately, according to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), you may be experiencing anaphylaxis, a severe allergic reaction that can be life-threatening.
While it’s important to treat severe allergic reactions quickly, most bee stings are just an annoyance that you can treat at home. The first step is to remove the needle (which may appear as a small black dot) by gently passing your fingernail, credit card, or piece of gauze through the skin. Avoid using tweezers that can squeeze out more venom, which is not something you want. Although there are a large number of home remedies used, doctors say the best way is to wash the area with soap and water, then apply a damp cloth or cold pack to reduce swelling. As much as you may want to, avoid rubbing the spot, as this can further itch and break down the skin barrier, exposing you to infection, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). If you feel burning, take an over-the-counter pain reliever such as ibuprofen (Motrin). You can reduce itching and swelling with hydrocortisone cream or calamine lotion. After that, if you still feel irritated, add an oral antihistamine with diphenhydramine (Benadryl) or Chlorpheniramine “Chlor-Trimeton,” Dr. Ehrlich advises. In the next few hours, watch the site of the bite. If it becomes more red or swollen, contact your health care provider.
If you know you’re allergic to bees, see your doctor for an epinephrine auto-injector (EpiPen), and learn how to use it in the event of a severe allergic reaction, says Dr. Jain. Write down the expiration date, and be sure to replace it regularly.
Keep in mind: Sometimes it can be hard to tell the difference between mild to moderate and serious allergic reactions on your own, so call your doctor if you suspect you might have a bee sting allergy. With a physical exam and a review of your medical history, they can tell if you’re at risk of a reaction. Be vigorous and advise next steps such as allergy testing or needles to reduce your response to bee stings in the future.
In the meantime, the best treatment for a bee sting is prevention. You can reduce your risk of getting stung in the first place by following these tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
Stay calm around individual bees, and avoid hitting them.
– Enter the car or building to escape the swarms of bees
Avoid wearing bright colors and perfumes outside, which may attract stinging insects.
Cover food and trash cans outside.
If a bee gets into your car, stop and open the window to let it get out on its own.
Leave the removal of the beehive to the specialists.