The basic bee sting remedy is to remove the stinger from the skin as quickly as possible if the bee left the stinger behind. A raised welt on the skin with a small black dot indicates the location of the stinger. The stinger is a small barbed sliver that has a venom sac attached to it. This stinger and sac combination means that if it is left in the skin after the bite, venom will continually be deposited into the skin for at least another 20 minutes. In addition, a pheromone will be released that will signal other bees in the area to sting as well. Therefore, the first two essential bee sting treatments are to flee the area first to prevent multiple stings and then remove the stinger quickly afterwards. |
Initially, recommendations to remove the stinger involved using a flat, stiff object such as a fingernail, credit card, or knife blade to lightly scrape out the stinger. It was speculated that if the stinger were squeezed by pinching with fingers or by using tweezers, additional venom would be injected into the skin of the victim. However, a study in 1996 tested this theory and found that it is more important to remove the stinger as quickly as possible by whatever reasonable means available. Any delays will result in more venom being injected into the skin that would have been injected by squeezing the stinger. Therefore, use of tweezers or the fingernails of your thumb and forefinger to grab and remove the stinger is acceptable. The key is to remove the stinger quickly.
Once the stinger has been removed, then it is prudent to focus on treating the bee sting symptoms that the victim is experiencing.
If there is no indication of allergic type symptoms, then there are some general bee sting treatment procedures that can be followed.
After being stung, it is important to stay calm. Panic will only lead to the symptoms becoming more severe. It is a good idea to wash the skin wound with soap and water or if soap and water are not available, use alcohol or other suitable antiseptic in order to help prevent infection. Avoid touching or scratching the area. If the bee sting was on the arm or leg, elevate the affected body part to limit the flow of body fluid to the area and to reduce swelling. Apply a cold compress or an ice pack, off and on for twenty minutes at a time. The cold temperature helps to soothe the pain and reduce swelling.
Various skin lotions can be used to reduce itch, swelling, and pain. For example, calamine lotion, hydrocortisone cream, or combination creams that contain an antihistamine, an analgesic, and a corticosteroid are often useful. There are also over-the-counter skin products specifically designed for the treatment of minor symptoms.
Another useful bee sting treatment is to use an oral antihistamine. Antihistamines will help reduce swelling, itch, hives, redness of the skin, and help prevent the reaction from spreading.
For pain, acetaminophen or ibuprofen can be used.
Various home remedies have been suggested as bee sting treatments. One example is to make a paste of baking soda and water, and applying this to the sting site for approximately 20 minutes in order to reduce itch and soothe the area. Alternatively, a wet tea bag can also perform the same function.
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