If you’ve ever received a sting from a bee or wasp, you know how much it hurts. If you’ve never been stung, you may be worried that you will have an allergic reaction. Only about 3% of the people who are stung will have a localized reaction. About 0.8% of bee sting victims will have a systemic allergic reaction, or anaphylaxis.
With a localized reaction, a person will most likely swell up and experience itching at the site of the sting. Redness and pain may persist for a few days. The site may swell up to a large area. Ice will help reduce the swelling, and an over-the-counter pain medicine will relieve minor irritation.
Anaphylaxis – Seek Help Immediately
Anaphylaxis will affect the entire body. The victim may experience difficulty breathing or wheezing, nausea, dizziness, and hives. It is important to call 911 if a bee sting victim shows any of these symptoms in the first few minutes following a sting. If the individual knows of their allergy and carries an epinephrine injection, you should help them utilize their medication. They should still seek medical urgent care following the incident.
Taking the Stinger Out
Some insects leave their stinger in the victim, and some do not. If you see the stinger in the site, it’s a good idea to try and remove it if you can do so safely. Running a credit card or blunt knife over the site will probably dislodge it. It will help reduce the severity of the sting.
Even if a person does not have a severe reaction after a bee or wasp sting, if the sting is in the nose, mouth, or near the groin, they may still need urgent medical care. Smaller children or the elderly with other medical conditions should check with their physician after a bee sting if they have a localized reaction. Don’t hesitate to take someone to a medical center if you are unsure.