How To Tell If You're Allergic To Bee Stings

March 3, 2024

Bee stings are a common occurrence, especially during warmer months when outdoor activities are more popular. For most people, a bee sting results in temporary pain, swelling, and redness at the site of the sting. However, for some individuals, bee stings can trigger severe allergic reactions that require immediate medical attention. In this blog, we’ll explore how to tell if you are allergic to bee stings and what steps you should take if you suspect an allergy.

For same-day seasonal allergy treatment, visit the walk-in clinic at AFC Urgent Care Aberdeen. Our urgent care center is equipped to handle all non-life-threatening conditions on a walk-in basis. We’re open seven days a week– just stop by at your convenience.

Understanding Bee Sting Allergies 

Bee sting allergies occur when the body’s immune system overreacts to the venom injected by a bee. While most people experience only mild reactions– such as pain and swelling– others may develop more severe symptoms. The venom of honeybees contains chemicals which affect the immune system and cause it to react. These chemicals include:

  • Histamine
  • Mast cell degranulating peptide
  • Melittin
  • Phospholipase A2
  • Hyaluronidase
  • Acid Phosphate

Generally, the reaction to a bee sting varies depending on whether or not you are allergic to bees. Most people find out about the allergy from firsthand experience with a bee sting. However, there are tests that a certified healthcare professional can provide, like a skin prick test that exposes the skin to a safe amount of the toxin. This is similar to other allergy tests and can provide information without having to experience a full allergic reaction. 

Types Of Allergic Reactions To Bee Stings 

Allergic reactions to bee stings may vary between people. They can range from mild to severe reactions. It’s essential to be able to differentiate between a normal reaction to a bee sting and an allergic reaction. While localized pain, swelling, and redness are common, severe symptoms like difficulty breathing or widespread hives indicate an allergy.  Let’s delve into the range of allergic reactions that can occur.

Mild Sting Reactions

A mild sting reaction is the normal reaction in an allergic person to a bee sting. It’s symptoms may include:

  • Sharp burning on the affected area
  • A red welt on the affected area
  • A small welt on the punctured area
  • Slight swelling

Moderate Sting Reaction

Moderate reactions are a little more serious than mild reactions but they are not severe and should be alleviated within five to ten days. Symptoms may include:

  • Extreme Redness
  • Increased swelling of the affected area

Severe Allergic Reaction  

Severe allergic reactions may cause great discomfort and could even be life-threatening sometimes. Symptoms could include:

  • Serious skin reactions, like hives, itching, and pale skin
  • Breathing difficulty
  • Swelling in throat and tongue
  • Weak pulse or rapid pulse
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of consciousness or dizziness
  • Fainting

Seeking Medical Attention 

While mild and moderate reactions can be treated at urgent care, severe reactions should be treated immediately at the emergency room. Mild cases can be alleviated with over-the-counter antihistamines to relieve itching and hives. Bee stings can be a painful nuisance for some, and a life-threatening emergency for others. Knowing how to recognize the signs of a bee sting allergy is important for prompt treatment and prevention of complications. If you suspect that you’re allergic to bee stings or have experienced a severe reaction in the past, consult a healthcare professional to develop a personalized management plan. 

At AFC Urgent Care Aberdeen, your health is our top priority. Our urgent care center can help diagnose and treat mild to moderate infections. Our urgent care center operates on a walk-in basis– meaning appointments are not needed to be seen by a provider. We’re open seven days a week. If you have any additional questions about our services, please contact our medical office directly at (732) 583-5100.

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