What to Do If You're Stung by a Bee, Wasp or Hornet

Every person may have a different reaction upon getting stung by a bee, wasp, or hornet. You should know what stung you and how your body would possibly react from the sting. There are normal local reactions and there are also large local reactions that may require immediate treatment.

Different Reactions to Bee, Wasp and Hornet Stings

Before taking any medications, it is ideal to know your body’s reaction to the sting. This is one way to find out whether you should proceed with basic treatments or seek medical attention.

Normal Reactions

For people who don’t have an allergic reaction to bites and stings, you will notice a raised welt on the sting site. There will also be a tiny white spot on the punctured area of your skin. For normal reactions, the swelling and pain will subside after a few hours.

Large Local Sting Reactions

The term is used when describing severe reactions to stings. Other people may experience allergic reactions, but not to the point where their life is at risk.

Some of these reactions may include:

  • Swelling
  • Redness
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea

One may experience any or all of these symptoms two or three days after getting stung. Without treatment, these reactions will subside within a week or so. You can also ask the help of a doctor to learn if you have a large local reaction. After consultation, your doctor may prescribe OTC antihistamines to ease your discomfort.

Possible Anaphylaxis

If a person is severely allergic to stings, anaphylaxis can be the worst reaction to happen. Your body will go into shock as its response to the venom. This is most common to people stung by a wasp or hornet since these insects release a higher amount of venom, unlike bees.

A person can immediately go into shock right after getting bitten. As soon as a person experiences anaphylaxis, call for emergency medics right away to handle the situation.

Things You Can Do If You Get Stung by a Bee, Wasp, or Hornet

There are simple things that you can do at home right after you get stung. It is necessary that you act immediately to prevent the worst from happening. This will also reduce the discomfort and pain associated with the sting.

The following are simple things that you can do once you get stung:

1.      Go to a safe distance away from where you found the insects.

A common thing about bees, wasps, and hornets is that they are able to send signals to their kind after they sting a target. This means that if you are still near the area, you might get stung by more of them.

If you were stung by hornets or wasps, they might come back and get you stung multiple times. So, make sure you are far from the insect that stung you before treatment.

2.      Remove tight-fitting clothing and elevate the affected area.

Since the area will swell, make sure that you remove any jewellery, shoes, and tight clothing. Doing this will save you from having a hard time removing it after swelling.

Make sure that you elevate the part where you got stung. It will lessen the swelling and make you feel better.

3.      Remove the bee stingers by scraping or using a tweezer

If you were stung by a honeybee, then the stinger will be stuck in your skin. You can remove the stinger using tweezers or by scraping it off using a card. Never attempt to squeeze it as it will only spread the bee venom left in the stinger.

4.      Wash the area

Remove as much venom as possible by washing the area with soap and water.

5.      Apply ice pack

To reduce pain and swelling, you can apply an ice pack on the area. Just place on the affected area and then remove it once it feels too cold. Leave it for 10 minutes and repeat the process.

6.      Resort to home remedies

You can resort to home remedies when treating bee, wasp, and hornet stings. There are various home treatments for bee, hornet, and wasp stings that you can try like the following:

  • Mix baking soda with little water to make a past. Apply it to the affected area. It will soothe the discomfort, calm the itching, and reduce swelling.
  • Apply some honey on the affected area. The antibacterial properties of honey will help reduce discomfort and swelling.
  • Get some gloves of garlic and crush it. Apply its juice to the stung area. It also has antibacterial properties that will help in relieving the discomfort.
  • You can use a few drops of lavender essential oil on the area. It can reduce the pain associated with the sting. Just apply it topically to get results.
  • Apply some vinegar to the area. Dab a paper towel or cotton into white vinegar and wipe it on the sting. The alkaline content on the stings will be neutralized by the acid from the vinegar. Do this as often as needed.

7.      Take anti-allergy medications

Taking anti-allergy medications will help alleviate the burning and itching sensation in the area. Though it may immediately provide comfort, the symptoms may last for a couple of days. You can take an oral antihistamine or ask for a prescription from your doctor.

8.      Apply OTC creams

After washing the affected area, you can resort to the use of OTC creams like calamine lotion or hydrocortisone cream. These will relieve skin irritation and itching. Just apply a small amount to the area and repeat when needed.

9.      Keep the area clean

To prevent infection, it is recommended that you always keep the area dry and clean. You can cover it with bandage if you want.

10.  Have a tetanus booster

Though you didn’t get any severe reaction to bee stings or from wasps and hornets, it is advisable that you get a booster. This is highly recommended if you haven’t got a booster for about 10 years.

If you know that there are stinging insects near your home, you should be aware of some treatments you can do to right after getting stung. In case you are not sure, you can always ask for medical help to get proper treatment right away.