How to treat a bee sting, for people that are not allergic to stings.
No matter where you are, there is a chance that you can run into a bee and accidentally get stung. While only 4% of the population is allergic to bee stings, which can be fatal, they can still be painful to the remainder. Please remember also, just because you have never had an allergic reaction before, doesn't mean that you won't this time! Also, if you have a small child that has never been stung before, keep a close eye on them and if need be, call an ambulance.
This article is basically for treating bee stings for people without allergies!
First let me tell you a little about what a bee's stinger is. It is a small barbed stinger, that has a venom sack attached that can continue to pump venom into your system for 20 minutes after you have been stung. It can also release a hormone into the air that will make other bees in the area more aggressive and apt to sting also. So it is imperative to remove the stinger as quickly as possible.
First you must find the stinger, look for a raised red welt on the skin of the victim. Now look very carefully for a small black dot in the center of the welt, it will look rather like a very tiny splinter. If the victim has been stung more than once, continue checking all of the welts until you find the stinger, or stingers.
After you have quickly located the stinger, pull it out as quickly as possible use either tweezers, or a stiff, flat object, such as a credit card, and pull or scrape out the stinger. This is imperative to get the stinger to quit pumping venom into your system.
If you are just a by-stander here, be sure to ask the stinging victim if they have allergic reactions to bee stings. If so, find out if they have a bee sting or anaphylaxis kit. Generally people that are allergic to bee stings carry one of these kits fairly close by. If a kit is available, follow the instructions which will be displayed on the kit. If no kit is available, immediately call an ambulance. It is better to call an ambulance instead of trying to get the victim to the hospital yourself, unless of course you are within minutes of a hospital. The paramedics on the ambulance will be able to give medication to the victim immediately.
If the victim does not know if they are allergic to bee stings watch for headaches, muscle cramps, difficulty breathing or swallowing, sweating, nausea, fever, drowsiness or unconsciousness. Again if any of these symptoms occur, call the ambulance.
If the victim has no allergies or signs of any allergy, it is now time to treat the sting and make it less painful. You will first want to wash the area gently with soap and water, if available. If you are not near soap and water, see if someone has a first aid kit. If so you can use an alcohol swab to sterilize the sting area.
You now will want to add cold compresses to the area to reduce the swelling. Either a washcloth run under cold water, or a baggie full of ice will work for a compress. I also like to elevate the area slightly if possible. My daughter has a tendency to play outside with no shoes, and has been stung several times this summer on the bottom of her foot. I will have her lay on the couch and elevate her foot with several pillows and apply a compress of a baggie full of ice, wrapped in a towel or wash cloth.
I also recommend giving the victim a pain reliever, and I also keep Benedryl on hand. There are also some home remedies that will help take the "sting" out of the sting. Such as, making a paste of baking soda and water, then apply this to the welt. I have heard of people using toothpaste, meat tenderizers and raw onion slices on the sting.
Whatever home remedy you prefer, just remember to get the stinger out quickly, check for allergies, and then treat the sting.