They come in many varieties, are fantastic pollinators and producers of deliciously sweet honey, but they can also come with a nasty sting in their tail. Here we discuss how to deal with a bee sting
We’re all familiar with that buzz during the summer months and just occasionally we may take a sting. Wasp and bees can often be mistaken for one another and are both capable of giving a nasty sting, but generally will leave us alone if we don’t bother them. They are hugely important as pollinators and should be left alone. So as a general rule, if you do come across a bee, don’t flail your arms around and chase them away, simply stand still and allow them to move on.
Whilst honey bees can attack when provoked, wasps are naturally more aggressive predators and whilst honey bees can sting only once then die, a single wasp is capable of stinging multiple times. Honey bees are hairy, while wasps usually have smooth and shiny skin and are brightly coloured, with black and yellow patterns.
A bee sting can be very unpleasant and sore for a few hours, but unless you are allergic to bees then it is unlikely to cause you any major problems.
What to do if you suffer a sting
If you can, try to remove the sting from the skin carefully as you could potentially spreads the venom, if for example the skin is pinched, instead try to scrape it off.
Apply something cold, such as ice if you have it to hand or a cold compress.
Take pain relief if very painful, such as paracetamol, but always check the dosage.
Try an antihistamine if it’s very itchy, or visit your local pharmacist for advice.
Its always advisable to seek medical advice if you have severe swelling to the bite or significant pain.
Ring 999 if you have any swelling of the face, tongue, lips, neck or difficulty breathing or difficulty swallowing.
If you know you have an allergy…
You may know you have an allergy, but don’t assume those around you do! Always carry your pre-loaded Epi-pen and a written plan on how to use it.
If you know you are prone to severe reactions notify your friends, employer and family and demonstrate how to administer the Epi-pen.
You may also be advised to wear a medical alert bracelet or necklace, ensure you do wear it.
If your reactions are severe, it may be worth looking into specialist venom immunotherapy treatments, contact your local GP for more advice on this.
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