Being stung by a bee may not be a very painful experience in most cases, but the swelling and redness that appears as a result of the sting can be quite unpleasant. Some people have a lower threshold of pain, and a simple bee sting can hurt them a lot. But, this is quite rare as the pain that accompanies the sting is very small. There are cases though, where the individual who has been stung develops an allergic reaction. This culminates in a lot of complications and discomfort.
Bees are not aggressive by nature, and they will sting a person only if they feel threatened. Being stung by a bee is quite a common occurrence, but for people who develop a reaction, this seemingly small problem turns into something quite big. Of course, the type of bee that has stung a person also plays a part in the severity of the reaction. A small honeybee does not cause much discomfort with its sting as mush as say a wasp, a bumblebee, or a hornet.
When we talk about being stung by a bee, it refers to the injection or the poking of the human skin by a stinger that is present on the tail of all bees. This stinger transfers a protein venom into the skin, which initially causes a certain degree of pain, and soon after causes some form of local or widespread reaction.
Being stung by a honeybee means that the stinger is left in your skin, as it contains barbs which poke into the skin. When the bee tries to fly away after stinging, its abdomen gets ripped out as the stinger is attached to the abdomen, and the insect dies soon. You should immediately remove the stinger from your skin, as it can cause an infection. Bumblebees and wasps, on the other hand, can repeatedly sting a person, as their stinger does not get removed after stinging. The reaction will be more intense if a wasp, bumble bee, or a hornet has stung you. It is said that the venom of the sting of bees contains nine different chemicals that cause varying reactions on the human skin.
Most people simply experience local reactions to bee and wasp stings, so the dangers are not too serious and these can be treated quite easily as well. But some people, owing to their genetic makeup, are more prone to it. This can be quite harmful if it is left untreated. The following are the most commonly seen symptoms:
- Excessive wheezing and difficulty in swallowing
- Difficulty in breathing
- Increased pulse rate
- Extreme dizziness
- Sharp drop in blood pressure
- Swelling of the throat, face, and mouth
- Feeling of anxiety and restlessness
- Hives on the skin that look like inflamed and itchy rashes, and are rapidly spreading to other parts of the skin
There are some severe allergic reactions that sometimes lead to a cardiac arrest or unconsciousness, but these are extremely rare. Some more mild effects due to bee stings are as follows:
- Redness and swelling
- Warmness at the site of the sting
The treatment to be administered for bee stings depends on the severity of the sting, the species of bee that stung the person, and the area that has been sting. Under normal circumstances, treatment must be immediate, as delaying can potentially worsen the situation. Here are some possible treatments:
- Apply ice on the stung area.
- Sit still. Moving the person who has been stung is not advisable.
- Avoid consuming alcohol immediately after being stung.
- Gently lower the arm or the leg that has been stung.
- If there is a stinger in the skin, remove it immediately.
- Spraying Benadryl topical solution on the spot where you have been stung.
- If you feel that the stung person is not responding to any form of treatment, visit an emergency room immediately.
Usually, any of these remedies will treat the condition effectively. The pain and discomfort is usually just a temporary phenomenon and it will soon pass. Administering these forms of treatment will help soothe the pain and will ease some of the discomfort felt by the person. Another important thing to remember is that you must quickly move out of the place where you got stung, as bees in distress let out a smell that attracts other bees. You do not want to be around when these other bees arrive.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.