Bee stings are pretty common during camping trips. A normal reaction to bee sting is swelling, pain and red itchy skin. However, some people may be allergic to bee sting and therefore show certain severe symptoms. A condition called anaphylaxis is a result of aggravated allergic response to bee sting. This must be treated immediately as it can cost the person his life.
Bee Sting Treatment
Treatment should begin immediately after you are stung by a bee.
1. The first thing you need to do is, remove the stinger. It is better to scrape it off your skin with a blunt knife or a piece of plastic. Do not try to remove it with your fingers, as you may accidentally squeeze more venom in your skin. Do not let the stinger remain in the skin, else you might get a more severe reaction.
2. The next step is to flee the site of bee sting. Bees release a strong scent when they are in danger. This attracts other bees, which immediately come to their rescue. You definitely don't want to hang around when the reinforcement arrives!
Reduce Swelling from Bee Sting
It is common to experience some swelling after the bee stings you. The extent of the swelling depends upon the site of the bee sting. Some body parts tend to swell more than the others. For instance, you will notice a considerable swelling, if the bee stung you on face, as opposed to hands or legs. You can reduce the swelling from bee sting by immediately applying a pack of ice. The pain should subside quickly, but the redness and swelling will be there for some time. Swelling duration is about a day for normal person with no allergic response to bee stings. Antihistamines, corticosteroid cream or calamine lotion should be applied on the site of the sting to reduce inflammation. Ibuprofen or acetaminophen are the recommended over-the-counter drugs against bee sting.
You may also try applying some pickle juice or vinegar on the bee sting site to reduce swelling, itching from bee sting**. Incidentally, applying meat tenderizer also provides relief from sting, as it contains chemicals which break down protein in the venom. If the person has been stung by the bee on multiple sites, then take him to the doctor immediately. Extensive swelling may cause shortness of breath, which demands immediate medical intervention.
** - Some people say that vinegar does nothing to reduce swelling due to bee sting. While vinegar may not actively relieve bee sting swelling, it can definitely distract your mind and ease your pain. It has been proved that rubbing safe ingredients on stings can release endorphins and make you feel better. You can also rub bicarbonate soda for the same effect.
Check for Anaphylaxis
If the person has known allergic response to the bee sting and if he is not carrying an epinephrine auto injector (Epipen), immediately call for medical help. Do not wait for the symptoms to appear as this is an emergency. If the person does have Epipen with him, help him use it. The peculiar symptoms of anaphylaxis include redness, itching, hives, shortness of breath. The swelling and redness do not confine to the site of the bee sting, but spread very rapidly, all over the body. Antihistamines such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl) can be used to slow down the effects of anaphylaxis and can fetch you some time before you get medical assistance.
Bee stings are the most common type of bug bites that itch. You are more likely to get one during summer when more and more people go camping and disturb the habitat of bees and wasps. Strong food smells, perfumes or other sweet smelling things can attract bees towards your campsite. Hence, it is best to take all precautions while venturing in bee inhabited areas.