When Should I Be Concerned About a Bee Sting?

August 23, 2022

There is no way to truly prevent yourself or your children from suffering from bee stings. They are common occurrences in the summertime, especially as kids play outside more and more. Most stings are uneventful, and once the pain subsides, your child may be left with some swelling. It’s important to be aware of possible allergic reactions to bee stings and how to handle them.

AFC Urgent Care Short Hills is here to provide care to patients with health concerns that are not life-threatening. If your child is experiencing any mild to moderate symptoms after a bee sting, AFC Short Hills is here. It is absolutely critical for parents and adults in general to be aware of any severe symptoms, however, as these are best treated at the hospital.


Am I Allergic to Bee Stings?

If you or a loved one have a severe bee sting allergy, you typically don’t need to worry about severe symptoms the first time. The first sting is typically not extreme, but patients may show symptoms of a moderate reaction. This may include hives, a rash, itchiness, and swelling of the lips, eye, or tongue.

The first sting usually acts as a warning, so be sure to pay attention to these symptoms. Any subsequent bee sting may be more cause for concern.


How to Treat a Bee or Wasp Sting

If you or your child have been stung by a bee and are experiencing a normal reaction (slight swelling and slight pain), there are a few steps you can take to treat it. This includes:

  • Wash the area with antiseptic soap and warm water
  • Use a cold compress to soothe the pain
  • Take Benadryl or another antihistamine to reduce symptoms
  • Keep the area clean and dry for a few days
  • Take any pain medication like Tylenol or Advil to reduce the pain


When are Bee Stings Serious?

Bee stings are considered serious if you have been stung before and had a more severe reaction (as mentioned with the above symptoms). If you find yourself near a swarm of bees, there is still a chance of being stung multiple times, which should warrant a trip to the hospital (even if you aren’t allergic).

If anyone begins experiencing signs of anaphylaxis, it’s best to call 911. These symptoms include:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Vomiting
  • Severe inflammation
  • Light-headedness or losing consciousness
  • Elevated heart rate
  • Confusion or anxiety
  • Low blood pressure

It’s important to be aware of these severe symptoms, as anaphylaxis is life-threatening. AFC Short Hills can provide treatment for mild symptoms of bee stings, but anything that is severe should be treated at the hospital. If it feels like an emergency, it should be treated as one. 

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