For most people, a bee sting results in temporary pain and minor discomfort. Others may experience an allergic reaction and need immediate medical attention. If you or a loved one is stung by a bee this summer, you should know how to handle it.
Identify the Severity
The first step is to determine how severe the reaction is to the sting. This will help you decide if medical attention is necessary or not. Consider the following:
- Mild Reaction involves an instant, sharp burning pain where the sting occurred. Slight swelling may occur and it might be possible to see a white spot where the stinger punctured the skin. After a few hours, the pain will go away. Medical treatment isn't necessary.
- Moderate Reaction will exhibit extreme redness. The swelling may increase over 48 hours, but should resolve within 10 days. Medical treatment isn't necessary; but if you notice subsequent bee stings cause stronger reactions each time, consider consulting your doctor.
- Severe Reaction is potentially life-threatening and requires immediate medical treatment. The symptoms of a severe reaction include: hives, pale skin, difficulty breathing, swollen throat and tongue, weak and rapid pulse, dizziness or fainting. Immediately call 911 and administer an Epi-Pen if the patient has one.
Multiple Bee Stings
If someone has accidentally disrupted a hive, they cold wind up with multiple stings. In this case, even someone who typically has a mild reaction to a bee sting may have a more serious reaction. The venom may accumulate when more than a dozen bees sting at once. Therefore, medical attention should be sought.
Treatment of Mild or Moderate Stings
Mild and moderate bee stings do not need to be treated by a doctor. Instead take the following steps:
- Use tweezers to remove the stinger. Avoid pinching the stinger, as that may inject more venom.
- Ice the area to keep the swelling down. Remove any tight-fitting jewelry or clothing since it may become more difficult to remove as the area swells.
- If possible, elevate the location that was stung.
- Consider taking acetaminophen or ibuprofen for the pain, if needed.
- Keep the area clean to prevent infection.
If the area of the sting doesn't appear to be healing properly, seek medical attention. Also, if you are concerned about the severity of the reaction and worry that a future reaction may be life-threatening, contact your doctor to learn about prevention and treatment options. Call your independent insurance agent to ensure that your health insurance is up to date so there are no setbacks if you need to seek medical treatment for a bee sting, or any other health issue, this season.
Your good health is our priority. Call Insurance Providers at (417) 862-7700 for more information on Springfield health insurance.