While bees are generally happy minding their own business, sooner or later everyone is bound to experience a bee sting. When that time comes, the more you know, the better. If you would like to learn more about treating a bee sting, read on. This article will provide three tips for keeping discomfort at a minimum.
Remove the stinger as quickly as possible.
When a bee stings, it leaves its stinger lodged in your flesh. These stingers contain venom-filled sacs, which are what causes the painful, swelling reaction. The longer a bee's stinger remains stuck in your skin, the more venom enters your system, leading to a more severe reaction. For that reason, it is important to remove the stinger as soon as possible.
Conventional wisdom holds that bee stingers should be removed by scraping and never pinching. The argument is that inadvertently squeezing the stinger will release more venom into your system. Yet studies have shown that how you remove the stinger is not nearly as important as how quickly you remove the stinger. In other words, don't hesitate to pluck, brush or pull that stinger out--just do it as quickly as you can.
Treat swelling with an ice pack.
Ice is by far the most effective way to treat a bee sting. You see, the cold causes your blood vessels to constrict, thus slowing down the flow of venom-containing blood. Not only that, but ice helps to combat the pain and itching caused by a sting. Just wrap a zip-lock bag of ice in a dish rag or other cloth, and press against the sting for 20 minutes.
If ice is unavailable, you might be surprised to find that one of the next best alternatives is toothpaste. That's because toothpaste is an alkaline substance, which helps it neutralize the naturally acidic venom. In addition, a lot of toothpastes contain glycerine, a substance which acts to dry out any venom present in the sting area.
Seek treatment immediately in case of a systemic allergic reaction.
It is important to realize that approximately 0.8% of people will experience a life-threatening allergic reaction if stung by a bee. Symptoms of such a reaction may include:
- wheezing and/or difficulty breathing
- drop in blood pressure
- chest pain
- face or mouth swelling
Any such reactions require immediate medical intervention. Yet even if you have not begun to display any symptoms, it is vital to contact an emergency medical service at once if you know you have a severe allergy. Acting fast in such a situation may well end up saving your life.
If you have bees on your property, contact ASAP Bee Removal or a similar company.