Tips: Treating a Bee Sting

Bee sting

Ah, spring time! The sun is out and the sunshine is warm. The great outdoors is calling us to come and play. We are happy to oblige—mainly to get the kids to burn off some energy so that we can put them to bed at a decent hour. Or so your family can enjoy nature if you’re one of those types. Anyway, it’s all warm, sunny fun and games until someone gets stung by a bee. BUM BUM BUM!

Good feelings gone. But now what? Well, if your child is allergic to a bee sting, follow the advice of your medical professional and/or seek emergency help as applicable (if you’re unsure of whether or not the person is allergic, look for symptoms such as hives, wheezing/difficulty breathing, swelling of the face, throat or mouth). If your child simply finds bee stings to be an excruciatingly painful and itchy attack on their person, check out these tips.

  1. If the culprit was a bee, the barbed sides of the bee’s stinger mean that the stinger is likely stuck in your child’s skin. It will be obviously visible. The longer the stinger remains lodged in the skin, the more venom is released–seconds matter. Remove the stinger as soon as possible. Effective methods to do so include using a credit card or straight edge to scrape the stinger out, or using your fingers or tweezers to pull it out.
  2. Gently wash the area with soap and water.
  3. Remove any jewelry or tight items (rings, bracelets, rubber bands, etc.) from the area around the sting, so that they don’t get stuck or become hazards if swelling occurs.
  4. Apply an icepack or a cool compress to the site. If the ice is too intense, you can apply it near the site. You can also try Buzzy (with or without the icepack) to distract from the immediate pain, and the upcoming itching. And yes, I too find it ironic that Buzzy is a bee.
  5. Some experts suggest elevating the site of the sting if it’s on an arm or a leg, to reduce swelling and soreness.
  6. You can use an over-the-counter pain-reliever like acetaminophen or ibuprofen to help with pain and swelling. (Be sure you know whether your child can take either medication based on their age, and know your child’s correct dose by weight. Call your health care provider for direction if you’re not sure.)
  7. For itch relief, you can apply calamine lotion or a topical itch reliever. You can also give your child an over-the-counter antihistamine—but be sure to check in with their health care provider first, especially if you’ve never given your child an antihistamine before.
  8. Give lots of snuggles and love, and kiss the boo-boo if it will help.
  9. Finally, rejoice in the bee’s demise. (You do know that most of them die after stinging, right?) That’ll teach it to attack your kid.
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Christina lives in Northern Virginia with her husband, daughter, and two English Springer Spaniels. Before becoming a reluctant stay-at-home mom, she worked in a variety of customer-service-oriented jobs while dreaming of living in the lap of luxury as a housewife. Unfortunately, having a child threw a wrench in Christina's plan to do nothing but eat bonbons while lounging in the Jacuzzi reading all day. Now, she spends her time looking for fun activities and crafts for her daughter and easy-to-prepare meals for her family, while trying not to land the kid in therapy when she grows up. Christina volunteers at several different places, and her particular passion is for her role as a sexuality educator. She loves to read, and to learn about--and share--new products and resources.

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