Healthy Living: Local News
Your Health: Bee Stings
Story Updated: Jul 27, 2012
It's a part of summer: bees and wasps are everywhere, so it's important to know what to do if you get stung.
Insects are seldom obvious, so if you're outdoors, there's always a risk of being stung.
With this mostly dry summer, that risk is even greater than usual.
"I don't recall seeing this many this early," said physician's assistant Mark Knowles.
"Typically, it seems to be more in the fall that we're dealing more with the bee stings," he said.
Knowles says there are three possible reactions to bee stings.
"One being a normal reaction. The normal reaction being, as far as the sting, it hurts and there's a little redness. That's about it," he said.
"Then you have more the localized and that can be more where you see redness, swelling of an extremity."
In either of those cases, you want to clean the site with soap and water and if a stinger is left behind, remove it.
"Flick it off, like scrape it with a fingernail and/or with a, like a credit card," Knowles said.
"Because if you try and grab it, the sack might still be attached to the stinger and you're actually going to squeeze more of the venomous stuff into the person."
Next, apply ice to the site, take Benedryl and then use a topical treatment such as hydro cortisone cream.
The third potential type of reaction can be life threatening.
If the symptoms are severe, such as difficulty breathing, dizziness or nausea, call 911.
If you have a serious reaction to a sting, talk to your doctor about allergy skin testing.
If you test positive, venom immunotherapy, more commonly known as allergy shots, is an option to reduce your sensitivity.