Late summer and early fall is the height of “angry bee” season. When bees and wasps are near the end of their life cycle, they become increasingly aggressive. Being stung by a bee, wasp, hornet, or yellow jacket can be both painful and scary, especially for those who have serious or life-threatening allergic reactions to bee stings. It requires a quick treatment. Here at AFC Urgent Care New Britain we are seeing a high number of people walking through our doors with painful stings. Angry bee season is upon us and here is what we recommend for bee stings, treatment and prevention.
How to avoid a bee sting
Bees release a chemical when they sting, which may attract other bees. Avoiding bee stings can be tough, especially when your first instinct is to run. The CDC suggests going indoors or to your car if you are being chased by bees.
There are also other tips that you can take to avoid attracting bees to your location:
- Avoid colorful and flower-print clothing to help keep bees away, as well as fragrances or cosmetics with floral scents.
- Be careful with food and sweet drinks (ex. soda). Bees will often fly into the drink and sting the drinker when he or she takes a sip.
- Wear long pants, long socks, and closed toe shoes if going to a field where there will likely be bees. Don’t run and don’t swat them.
- Keep garbage in sealed receptacles. When out at a public park or playground, keep away from open or full garbage bins.
If you notice a hive or wasp nest on your property it is best to contact a pest professional and avoid taking out the hive yourself.
Treating a bee sting if you are non allergic
- Scrape the stinger out as soon as possible—do not pull or squeeze the stinger out with a tweezer. Doing so may release more venom.
- Clean the sting site with soap and water to prevent infection.
How to alleviate pain, itch and swelling
Try these highly effective home remedies:
Ice: Ice reduces swelling by constricting vessels and minimizes the flow of venom in the blood. Also, the numbing effect soothes pain and itching.
Baking soda: Create a paste of baking soda and water to apply on the sting site. The alkaline nature of the baking soda helps to neutralize the acidity in the venom. You can also mix in some meat tenderizer which contains a naturally occurring enzyme (papain, from papaya) that helps to break down the protein in the venom.
Vinegar: Vinegar is the soother of choice when getting stung by a wasp. Use this trick to remember: Baking soda for bees (both at the beginning of the alphabet), vinegar for wasps (both at the end of the alphabet).
Toothpaste!!: This is a great remedy which works on the same alkaline/acidity premise as baking soda. Small amounts of glycerin in toothpaste may also add to its soothing properties. A small tube of toothpaste is handy to pack in a travel first aid kit or picnic basket.
I just got stung by a bee, and I know I’m allergic. What do I do?
- If you or someone with you is allergic, you should always carry a bee sting kit. This should include a bronchodilator epinephrine shot (Epipen) or inhaler, which will dilate the airways and allow your child to breathe.
- If the person gets an allergic reaction, call 911 or bring them to the closest ER as soon as possible. They will need to be treated immediately.
For more information or questions, give us a BUZZ at 860-357-6899 or stop by our New Britain AFC urgent care center where we have professionals available 7 days a week, no appointment needed.