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Bee sting

Most of the time, bee sting causes minor reactions like pain, redness, and swelling around the sting site.
Pic Credits: Pexels

A bee sting is a common outdoor hazard and is more common in tropical climates. A bee sting usually causes minor reactions like pain, redness, and swelling around the bite. Rarely may you be allergic to the bee sting, or if bees sting several times, the situation can be life-threatening. Therefore, you should know what to do in case of a bee sting.

Body changes after a bee sting

In most cases, after a sting, you will feel pain, redness, and swelling at the site of the bite. The bee’s sting contains a sharp barb and a bag of poison, and the venom is released slowly from the sac into the body. Our immune system reacts to the poison, resulting in Pain, Redness, And Swelling.

If you are allergic to a bee sting or if many bees sting you repeatedly, you may have an anaphylactic attack, a severe body reaction to poisons and allergens.


You may experience different reactions ranging from minor to severe anaphylactic reactions.

Minor Reaction

  • Sharp pain and instant pain at the site of the sting.
  • Redness around the sting.
  • Mild swelling at the sting area.

Moderate Reaction

Sometimes, you may experience a bit of a severe reaction.

  • Increasing redness.
  • Swelling enlarges with time over days.

You will get better over 5 to 10 days. If the body reaction increases each time a bee stings, you must consult a doctor.

Severe Anaphylactic Reaction

If you are allergic to bee venom, your body will react severely, and it is a medical emergency and a life-threatening condition.

  • Dizziness and tingling sensation.
  • Generalized itching.
  • Swelling of tongue, lips, and throat.
  • Difficulty in breathing.
  • A rash over the skin.
  • Loss of consciousness

During the sting, the bee injects 50mcg of venom. Bee sting consists of phospholipase a, hyaluronidase, and mellitin.

Management Of Bee Sting

Minor reaction: Most commonly, you can treat it at home.

  • Do not Panic: A bee will sting you only once, and only wasps and hornets can sting repeatedly. If you get stung, run away from the area quickly.
  • Remove The Stinger: The bee leaves a stinger in your skin during the sting. Use the edge of a credit/debit card, your fingernail, or some straight-edged object to scrape the stinger.
  • Apply Ice: If you are stung by a bee, wash the sting area with soap and water, as it will remove any venom present in the skin. After cleansing, apply ice at the sting site to relieve the pain and swelling. Use ice for several minutes repeatedly.

Over-the-counter Medication.

Take an antihistamine medicine such as Diphenhydramine (Benadryl) to relieve itching and swelling. Ibuprofen Or Acetaminophen may be taken for pain relief.

Herbal Medicines

  • Essential Oils: Many essential oils have been shown to have antiseptic and analgesic properties. Tea tree, rosemary, and lavender oil may be applied to the skin to alleviate pain. If you are allergic to them, do not use them.
  • Calamine Lotion: Calamine lotion, if applied, can soothe nerves around the sting site. It will help to reduce pain and subside swelling.
  • Honey: Applying honey around the sting may subside inflammation.
  • Aloe Vera Gel: Use directly on the sting site. The gel may be obtained by crushing Aloe Vera leaves or from the market and has anti-inflammatory properties.

When To Call Emergency Medical Help?

You can usually treat a bee sting at home. However, if you notice severe reaction symptoms or have multiple stings, call emergency services or 911.

Multiple stings: If you accidentally come to disrupt a hive or swarm of bees or wasps, you may get multiple stings. The accumulation of toxins will result in a severe reaction. Symptoms include:

  • Severe headache.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Fainting and dizziness.

Prevention of bee sting

  • Do not try to remove a bee colony or nest by yourself. Always call for expert help.
  • If you are allergic to bee poison, you should be extra cautious. A minor bee sting can be life-threatening.
  • Avoid walking barefoot outdoors.
  • The mouth is the most dangerous place to get a bee sting. If stung in the mouth, swelling may obstruct airways and cause death. Avoid open soda cans.
  • Avoid wearing bright-colored clothes.
  • Do not use strong-smelling sweet perfumes or sprays.
Venom Immunotherapy

If you are allergic to bee venom, your doctor may consider desensitizing you. This procedure involves giving small doses of toxin over 3-5 years, and slowly, you will not react severely to a bee sting.

  1. American Academy of Dermatology Association
  3. California College of Ayurved
  4. Mayo Clinic
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