Bee and wasp stings occur more frequently at the end of summer and during the fall months. They do, of course, happen at other times of the year, but seem most prevalent between August and November. Knowing what to do and how to care for a bee or wasp sting is very important, especially if you are allergic to bee or wasp venom.
Common Reaction To Bee And Wasp Stings
When you are stung by a bee or wasp, the most common reaction is a swollen red area where the stinger entered the skin. Some people may have some itching associated with the sting area, and some people may feel like the area is very warm.
Allergic Reactions To Bee And Wasp Stings
An allergic reaction can be deadly if it is not treated. If you are stung and begin to have any of the following symptoms, call 911 and seek immediate medical care.
- Sweating or flushing of the skin
- Loss of voice or sound raspy
- Tightening in the throat or mouth area
- Wheezing or loss of breath
- Lightheadedness or feeling faint
What To Do When You Have Been Stung By A Bee Or Wasp
There are several things that you should do right after you have been stung by a bee or wasp.
- Remove stinger correctly. To remove the stinger, you want to take a damp cloth and gently rub over the stung area in a one-way motion. This will gently pull the stinger out of your skin. You do not want to squeeze it out or squeeze the stinger by grabbing it with tweezers. The stinger is filled with venom and if you squeeze it, more venom will enter your system.
- Wash area thoroughly. You want to take warm soapy water and clean the area. This will remove any venom that is on the skin and help reduce the pain.
- Apply cool compresses every 15 minutes. The cool compresses will reduce the swelling that is often associated with stings.
- Take an antihistamine. Taking an antihistamine can help reduce any minor reaction you may have to the bee or wasp sting, including skin reactions.
Most stings will heal within a couple of days. If you continue to have a reaction after a few days, or if the sting becomes swollen or infected, seek medical attention immediately.
Protecting Yourself From Bee And Wasp Stings
If you are going to spend time outdoors in an area that is known to have bee or wasp activity, there are things that you can do that can help you avoid being stung. While these tips are not a guarantee, they greatly reduce the risks of being stung.
- Refrain from wearing perfume or cologne. Flying insects are attracted to sweet smells. Perfumes, aftershave, shampoos, some soaps, and cologne that have a flowery or sweet smell will attract bees and wasps into the area.
- Keep foods covered. If you are having a BBQ or a pic
nic, you should keep food sealed until it is either being cooked or eaten. Bees are also attracted to strong smells and many foods, even though they are not sweet, will attract them into the area.
- Keep trash sealed. If you are eating outdoors or camping, make sure that you keep all of your garbage sealed so that the flying insects are not attracted to the area. This also helps prevent other unwanted guest like bears or raccoons from entering campsite areas.
- Do not swat at bees or wasps. Waving your arms or swatting at bees when they are near you will make them more likely to sting. Bees and wasps at on defense and will assume that you are trying to hurt them.
- Make sure that you have an EpiPen with you at all times if you know that you have an allergy to bee or wasp stings.
What To Do In The Event Of A Swarm
If you are being chased by a swarm of bees, the best thing that you can do is run in a straight line as fast as you can. Bees will chase you, but they have a limited amount of power to go very far. Usually, after about 500 feet, the bees are too tired to continue to chase you. Never jump in water to protect yourself, the potential to drown is too great.
Overall, bee and wasp stings can be painful and potentially serious. Taking a few precautions when you are outside and knowing what to do if you are stung will help make this situation a little more easy to manage.