Bee prepared: how to treat a sting

Tips on how to handle an insect attack

Spring has hit its stride and blooms are popping off left and right. With those flowers come hard-working insects who help to pollinate our crops. It’s inevitable that we’ll cross paths with bees, hornets and wasps, so it’s important to know how to treat a sting. Here are a few tips:

• Stay calm. Most bees sting only once, but wasps and hornets may strike again. Calmly walk away from the area to avoid more attacks.

• Remove the stinger. Gently scrape over the stinger with your fingernail or a piece of gauze. Never use tweezers: squeezing a stinger can pump more venom into your skin.

• Wash the sting site with soap and water.

• Apply a cold pack to reduce swelling. If swelling moves to your face or neck, or if you have difficulty breathing, nausea, hives or dizziness, go to the emergency room immediately. You might be having an allergic reaction.

• Consider over-the-counter pain medication. Acetaminophen or ibuprofen can help any pain and an antihistamine can relieve itchiness.

Source: American Academy of Dermatology