Doctor Secrets!


How to Treat a Bee Sting

bee sting cartoon

Bee sting occurs if a bee feels threatened by you.. This is most likely to happen if you are close to their hive. Most bee stings hurt a couple days but are harmless. But in some unlucky people, a bee sting can cause a life threatening bee sting allergy reaction - bee sting anaphylaxis.

Bee Sting Symptoms

The most common symptoms of a bee sting are:

  • Coin sized tender red swelling where the miscreant bit you.
  • Immediate pain over bee sting site.
  • Black bee stinger poking out from your skin.
  • Itch
bee sting bump
bee sting stinger


How to Treat a Bee Sting

  • Put some distance between you and the bee hive.
  • Use a credit card or other hard flat object to scrape the black bee stinger out of your skin if the bee left one.
  • Treat the bee sting with a wet aspirin tablet - if you're not allergic to aspirin - wipe it over the bee sting bump. This anti inflammatory helps to ease swelling and pain from the bee sting.
  • Baking soda or ammonia solution also reduce pain from a bee sting by changing the acidity of the sting site.
  • Use a paste of meat tenderizer on the bump. This helps to 'digest' the chemicals in the bee sting that make it so painful.
  • Ask your pharmacist for an antihistamine and ibuprofen. These will stop reduce the swelling, and ease the pain, respectively.
  • If you have a bee sting allergy your next stop should be a hospital for observation and maybe adrenaline (epinephrine) injection.

Bee Sting Allergic Reactions Symptoms

  • Trouble breathing or swallowing.
  • Swelling of your tongue or lips.
  • Gross swelling that spreads far from the bee sting site.
  • Hives all over your body.
  • Feeling faint or dizzy.

These dangerous bee sting allergic reactions typically occur within 10-30 minutes of being stung. It is called bee sting anaphylaxis. If you notice the above you need to get to your nearest hospital for treatment with supportive oxygen, antihistamines, and epinephrine. Anaphylaxis can stop you from being able to breathe. Bee sting Anaphylaxis is an Emergency! After treatment your doctor will give you an epinephrine Epipen to carry with you. This needle you can give to yourself to prevent a severe bee sting allergic reaction in future.

Bee Sting Infection Symptoms

  • Redness spreading beyond a fist size.
  • Pus oozing from the sting site.
  • Blisters.
  • Fever.

Sometimes as your skin is jabbed by the bee's stinger, bacteria can be pushed under your skin causing an infection a day or two later. If these symptoms of bee sting infection are noted you should visit your family doctor for antibiotics.

Doctor Secrets! "Mark on your calendar when your epipen expires to get a replacement, and ask your doctor for two at a time in case one fails."

MLA Citation for School Reports, Links, and Presentations:
Helpful Links:

  • Bee Sting Wiki
  • Bee Sting First Aid
  • Working around bees
  • Emedicine Bee Sting Article
  • Bee Sting Information


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    Last Updated:
    April 22 2016
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