Spring and summer bring many beautiful flowers and blooms each year. Along with these fragrant blossoms comes stinging insects, bees, and wasps. Bees do not travel solo. Where there is one, there is a colony, and more than one bee is likely to sting you if you get them excited.
When a bee stings, it injects venom into its unsuspecting victim. Usually the site of the sting is the only affected area and may become inflamed and painful. Some folks are not so lucky and may suffer from serious complications if they are allergic to bees.
The most common complication that occurs when someone has an allergic reaction to a bee sting is anaphylasix, and occurs soon after the victim is stung. Each year it is reported that an average of forty deaths are caused by insect bites.
People that are not allergic to bees can also have serious complications if stung multiple times. The folks at risk from multiple stings include the elderly, small children, and people with an already compromised immune system.
Although some people can suffer serious problems when stung by an insect, the majority of cases each year only cause local systemic reactions. These include pain, redness, edema, and itching at the site of the bite or sting.
Most bee or wasp stings can be cared for at home. Immediately after being stung, check the area to see if the stinger is still under the skin and remove it. Removal is important to reduce the amount of venom injected since some will remain in the stinger.
Ice applied directly to the area can help reduce the initial pain and swelling. Itching can be lessened with an antihistamine such as Benedryl. Pain can be reduced or eliminated by taking Motrin or Tylenol as directed. Cleanse the area well with a mild soap and water and pat dry. Neosporin or a generic topical antibiotic can be placed on the site and covered with a Bandaid.
If you have had a previous allergic reaction to a bee sting, you may need to seek medical attention. It may be wise to take a Benedryl and/or use an EpiPen if one has been prescribed for just such an emergency. Medications are not a substitute for medical help, yet can help lessen symptoms until you can get the proper medical attention that you need. If you are not up to date on your tetanus booster, you will need to get one within a few days of being stung.
Some people who are not allergic to most bees and insects may still need to seek medical care. These may include those who get stung inside the mouth or throat, in the eye, or receive more than ten to twenty stings.
Prevention is the key to reducing the risk of harmful reactions to bee and insect bites. Naturally, you will want to avoid known nests or hives. Take care when mowing near these areas. If you get in an area where there are bees or flying insects, do not swat at them and leave the area immediately. Avoid the use of heavy perfumes or sprays when outside as these tend to attract certain types of insects.
Most insect bites or bee stings will only cause minor problems such as pain, itching, or swelling at the site. For those who have known allergies and plan on being outside, take any needed precautions to prevent being bitten or stung. Also, be sure to keep an antihistamine or EpiPen available if it may be indicated.