Bee Sting

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How this works. Fast facts on insect stings Here are some key points about insect stings. More detail is in the main article.

How to Treat a Bee Sting Near the Eye

Bees, wasps, and other related insects can sting. Pain and swelling are common symptoms, but these usually go away within a few days. Bees leave a stinger that injects a toxic venom into the skin. If a person develops swelling, hives , and breathing problems, they need immediate medical attention. Aspirin or acetaminophen can relieve pain.

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Sprays or creams that contain anesthetic reduce the risk of infection. Antihistamine creams or oral antihistamines can help control swelling. When to call a doctor.


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    Ants are small insects that can be brown, black, or red. Some have wings and others don't. Some ants can sting, like the fire ant. Fire ants are tiny and reddish-brown and live in nests under the ground.

    Is this your child's symptom?

    Honeybees, wasps, hornets, fire ants, and yellowjackets may look different and have different homes, but they all sting when they are upset! If a person is stung by any of these insects, the sting will feel a lot like a shot at the doctor's office. The site of the sting will feel hot and it may itch. A red bump surrounded by white skin will develop around the sting, except for the sting of the fire ant, which turns into an itchy blister.

    Wasps and many bees can sting more than once because they are able to pull out their stinger without injuring themselves. Only honeybees have special hooks on their stinger that keep the stinger in the skin after a person is stung. The stinger gets torn out of the bee's body as it tries to fly away. Also, be aware that bumblebees can react aggressively to smells such as alcohol, perspiration, perfumes, scented soaps, aftershave, and so on. Moreover, rings, bracelets and watches may cause aggressive behaviour due to the scent of oxidised material between the skin and the jewellery.

    Bumblebees are attracted to the colour blue, including blue and particularly light blue clothing. Wearing protective clothing can reduce the risk of stings. Bumblebees can sting through clothing. Usually a bumblebee sting leads to a non-allergic , local reaction: swelling, itchiness and redness at the site of the sting, lasting for only a couple of hours.

    This can occur directly after the sting, but more generally it starts after some hours. The swelling or itching may last for hours or even days. In some cases, the local reaction may spread somewhat; in this case it usually takes longer for the symptoms to disappear.

    Bee Sting Allergy: Symptoms of Anaphylaxis

    This still counts as a local, non-allergic reaction. Usually medical treatment is not necessary. Some measures can be taken to minimize the local reaction, in particular if the person was stung in a sensitive location, such as near the eyes. As soon as possible after being stung, the person should take an anti-inflammatory such as aspirin or ibuprofen. Cold compresses should also be applied to the site.

    In addition, a number of anti-itch ointments are available e. In the rare case of a sting in the mouth or pharynx, the patient should be taken to hospital immediately, because this can result in blocked airways.

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    • At the hospital, the patient will be given corticosteroids such as prednisone and will be kept for observation. Because an allergic reaction involves antibodies formed during a previous exposure to an antigen, it is not possible to have an allergic reaction after the first sting. Allergic reactions usually become evident very soon after the sting from a few seconds to half an hour after the sting.

      In the event of a fever occurring or a grade 1 reaction, contact a GP. The decision can be made to keep an eye on the situation and see how things go. A period of observation in hospital is desirable, as the reaction may increase progressively over time. In the event of vomiting, and definitely in the case of grade 3 or 4 symptoms, the victim should be taken to hospital immediately. If an allergic reaction occurs, administration of a prescription-strength antihistamine such as clemastine is useful.

      The antihistamine reduces the swelling caused by the histamine in the venom.

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      In the case of level 3 or 4 reactions, it is necessary to administer adrenaline first. Adrenaline stimulates the heart, constricts the blood vessels, and opens the airways. Adrenaline can be self-administered by means of an adrenaline auto-injector such as an EpiPen or Jext.

      Adrenaline auto-injectors are only available by prescription, for instance if the patient has already had an allergic reaction to a bumblebee sting. Depending on local legislation, an adrenaline auto-injector may also be available at companies which work with bumblebees. Toxic reactions only occur when the victim is stung dozens of times in a brief period. General allergic reactions can occur in the nervous or circulatory system, such as cardiac arrhythmia or difficulties with breathing.

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