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How to Treat a Bee Sting


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Bees are a vital part of our ecosystem and have been noted as a key factor in humanity’s survival. They are generally just searching for food to return to their hive and will take little notice of people. This being said, bees have been known to sting as a defence mechanism if you provoke their hive, accidentally step on them, or squish them. 

Just because a bee is flying around you does not mean that it is aggravated or hoping to sting you. If a bee stings you, the bee will die! Bees can be attracted to the perfume/cologne or bright colours you are wearing.


Why do bees sting?

Bees sting when they feel threatened. A bees stinger has a barb on the end. This barb stays within you when stung and takes with it a sac of the bee’s venom. Unfortunately, this means that if a bee decides to sting you, it will pass away. Its venom has proteins that affect skin cells and the immune system, causing pain and swelling around the area. If you have a severe allergic reaction to the sting, then it can cause anaphylaxis. 

You can be at an increased risk of bee stings if you live in an area where bees are especially active, with beehives nearby, or you spend a lot of time outside. 


How to remove a bee sting

Firstly, remember to stay calm. Remove the sting by scraping your fingernail across it. Do not pull at it; this will cause more pain. Don’t use tweezers either, as they can release more venom from the sac. 

Wash the area and apply ice to reduce the swelling; monitor your symptoms. If this is your first sting, you may be allergic. If you do have an allergy to bee stings, you may experience anaphylaxis. The symptoms can include hives, itching and pale skin, difficulty breathing, swelling of the throat and tongue, a weak rapid pulse, nausea and vomiting or diarrhea, dizziness, fainting & loss of consciousness. If this is the case, you will urgently need an injection of adrenaline. Apply pressure to the sting and call for immediate help. 


How long does the pain last? 

The pain from a bee sting can be described as sharp, burning and usually lasts a few seconds. The swollen red mark after the sting can also be itchy and painful. Swollen red hives may peak up to 48 hours after and last for up to 1 week. 


How to avoid a sting

Wear shoes when you’re outside; often, people who are stung have accidentally stepped on a bee. The shoes will help to protect your foot. 

Don’t wear perfume or cologne if you’re going to be outside for the majority of your day; the scent can attract bees. Also, if you are planning on having a picnic or eating outside, tightly cover your food and drinks-especially if they are sugary. 

Seal trash cans, bees are drawn to rubbish and most importantly, if you see a beehive stay away from it and call a professional beekeeper to remove it.


Bee sting First Aid

Have more questions about how to deal with allergic reactions and other emergencies? 

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