A jump in the number of bee stings tends to occur in the spring and summer months. This is usually a result of the increased amount of time spent outdoor and the increased activity of bees working to pollinate the blooming plants. The effect of a bee sting varies widely from person to person and the level of severity, unfortunately, cannot be known until someone is stung. Being prepared for a sting – bee, wasp, and yellow jacket – is the best way to lessen the effects, as speedy response is the most crucial aspect of bee sting first aid.
Why Can an Insect Sting Be Fatal
For a majority of people, who are not allergic to bee stings, all that is required is minor first aid done at home. However for people with allergies, anaphylactic shock is a very real possibility that must be addressed quickly. Anaphylactic shock is the rapid and over reactive response of your immune system to some substance it deems as dangerous to your well-being. It usually results in massive swelling of the affected area first and then as the toxin spread through the blood stream, it can lead to swelling of the tongue and/or throat, resulting closure of the airways and suffocation. It might also be accompanied by hives – large, red welts, that are often itchy, that show up all over the body.
If you are going to be going out into nature, you should always bring a well stocked first aid kit, and in that kit you should have some sort of allergy medication with an anti-histamine (EpiPen, Zyrtec, Allegra, Benedryl,etc). You should also have tweezers for removal of the stinger; however a credit card – or other plastic card – can be very effective. It is important to remove the stinger quickly to lessen the amount of toxin absorbed into your skin.
After the stinger is removed, it is important keep a close eye out for swelling and/or hives as these are signs of possible anaphylactic shock. If the person already suffers from seasonal allergies, it is wise to give a dose of anti-histamine, just in case. For most people, the pain is the only real symptom, for which an anti-inflammatory medication can be used. You can also make a paste of baking soda and water and apply it to the sting for a more localized treatment. If the person has not developed hives, fever/chills or massive swelling within approximately 30 minutes, it is very unlikely that they will.