How to remove a bee sting and heal a sting

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When you get stung by a bee , the painful lump is not all that remains; Often times, the bee sting remains on your skin along with a pocket of venom attached to it. And while you're there, you can keep injecting poison into your body. This can make the sting worse and increase potential problems, such as an allergic reaction, so it is important to get rid of that sting.

Not all bites leave stings. Only a few species of bees have prickly stings that lodge in the skin. Even in these species, only female bees abandon them. Some yellow jackets also have tiny barbs on their stingers, but they aren't big enough to stick to the skin like bee spines.

Paul Starosta / Getty Images

Speed is the most important

There is some controversy over the best method of removing bee stings. Some say it needs to be scraped off so that no more venom is squeezed onto the skin. Others say just grab and pull, but some people fear this will push more poison out of the bag and into your body. This concern has long been considered common sense, and even some medical websites continue to recommend not pinching the stinger.

There isn't much scientific research that has focused on the impact of different removal methods, but based on a 2020 review of the available research, it appears that it doesn't really matter how you remove it. It appears that pinching does not increase the release of the venom, but leaving the sting does. The most important thing is that you remove the bite as quickly as possible.

How to remove a bee sting

Being stung is painful and probably overwhelming. An adrenaline rush and a panic reaction are normal. However, it is important that you calm down quickly so that you can check for a bite and take it out if necessary.

Inspect the sting

The first step is to examine the bite. A red bump with a dot in the center is normal. A small dark strand may stick out of it, and this is a sting. You can see a convex tip at the top, and this is a poisonous sac.

Sometimes if someone does not see the bite, they are concerned that it is under their skin. This is almost certainly not the case: the shape of the bite makes it really unlikely. If you cannot see it, assume there is no sting and treat the sting without worrying about it.

Stretch your skin tight

Especially if the bite is somewhere with sagging or wrinkled skin, you may need to pull hard on that area to better see the bite. It will also facilitate access for removal.

Pulling or scratching the bite

Once you find a bite, you can scrape it off with your fingernail, the edge of a credit card, or something similar you have on hand. Alternatively, you can pinch it with tweezers or between your fingers and pull it out.

Dangerous reactions to bee stings

Most people allergic to bee stings only know when they are sting. If you are stung by a bee and the bump (called a blister) becomes swollen and red, look for redness and swelling that is spreading outside the blister.

Normal symptoms of a bite include:

  • Instant severe pain
  • Redness in its place
  • Itching at the site
  • Swelling instead

These symptoms, while unpleasant, are not a cause for concern. However, if symptoms begin to appear away from the bite site, this could indicate a dangerous allergic reaction that requires urgent medical attention.

Signs of anaphylaxis

Be aware of itchy or burning skin that does not touch the wound, or shortness of breath, difficulty swallowing, sore throat, dizziness, or weakness after a bite.

Any of these signs and symptoms could indicate anaphylaxis , a severe allergic reaction . Anaphylaxis is a life-threatening medical emergency that requires immediate treatment.

If you know you are allergic to bee stings, you should always carry adrenaline, a form of adrenaline used to treat severe anaphylaxis. It could have saved his life. If you have witnessed someone else's allergic reaction and have had an adrenaline auto-injector , you can save your life by injecting it as soon as you notice the symptoms of anaphylaxis.

Treat the sting

Once the sting is gone and you know you are not having a serious reaction, it is time to treat the sting.

  • Wash the area.
  • Apply a cold compress to reduce inflammation .
  • Take over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications ( Advil , Aleve ).

Under your skin

In the unlikely event that some or all of the bite gets stuck under the skin, it is likely that over the course of a few days it will spread like a splinter. If the swelling doesn't go away after a couple of days, you may need to see your doctor to check for an infection.

Home remedies

Many home remedies can help relieve pain, itching, and swelling from a bee sting. Many of them are not scientifically proven, but some people claim that they work.

  • Apple Cider Vinegar – Some people claim that it neutralizes poison and helps reduce swelling. You can soak the bite in diluted vinegar or cover it with a cloth soaked in vinegar for 15 minutes.
  • Honey : This may sound ironic, but this bee product has been shown to improve wound healing , reduce inflammation, and kill germs that can cause infections. Just dab a little on the bite.
  • Topical pain relievers – Some products are marketed specifically for bee stings, while others are marketed for pain in general.
  • Toothpaste – Some people claim that toothpaste can neutralize bee venom when applied to a sting.
  • Baking soda : A baking soda paste (1/4 cup of baking soda mixed with 1-2 tablespoons of water) can help neutralize the bite and reduce inflammation.
  • Calamine lotion or hydrocortisone cream – These creams have long been used to treat itching caused by a variety of sources, including bites.

Various insect bites

Bees, bumblebees, wasps, yellow jackets, and hornets come from the same family (Hymenoptera) and can all sting. The bites themselves are very similar, and if there are no bites left, it will be impossible to distinguish them from each other. Since most of these insects do not shed their bites, they can sting multiple times.

KIND OF LET STINGER? MULTIPLE CORNERS? AGGRESSIVE?
Bees Yes No No
Bumblebee No Yes No
Wasps No Yes Yes
Yellow jackets No Yes Yes
Hornets No Yes Yes

A person who has received multiple stings can also have severe symptoms due to the amount of venom in their body. These symptoms include:

  • Nausea
  • Weakness or dizziness
  • In extreme cases, seizures.

Some wasps can bite as well as being bitten, and their sting can be quite painful.

Frequently asked questions

What happens if the bee sting is not removed?

The venom will continue to enter your body if you leave a sting on it. It can cause swelling, pain, and possibly dizziness, nausea, shortness of breath, or other symptoms. Leaving a stinger on the skin also increases the risk of infection .

Which is worse, a bee sting or a wasp sting?

It depends on how your body reacts. Both secrete venom that causes swelling and pain , and both can cause serious reactions, including anaphylaxis. A bee sting generally remains on your skin, continuously releasing venom until it is removed. Wasps don't leave their stings on you, but they can sting you repeatedly, so you also run the risk of repeated poison injections.

Get the word of drug information

In most cases, while it can cause panic, a bee sting that leaves a sting on the skin is not a big problem. Just get rid of it, no matter how you do it, just get rid of it quickly. If you are allergic to bee stings and think the sting is too deep to remove (which is rare), seek medical attention immediately.

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