How to Treat Bee Stings: Tips to Know If That Insect Bite Is an Emergency by Cindy Cooke, DNP, FNP-C, FAANP
Many parents hit the panic button when a child gets their first bee sting, but it’s not always an emergency. Here’s a quick guide to help you navigate your next playdate bee encounter:
- Treat at home. There will be tears, but localized burning, pain, redness, itchiness and minor swelling are all common reactions that don’t require emergency treatment.
- Response: Remove the stinger, wash the site, apply ice, use antihistamine or calamine cream to reduce itching and take ibuprofen or acetaminophen to help reduce the pain.
- Seek help immediately. Four out of every 1,000 kids have a severe reaction to bee stings and must be treated right away. Hives, face swelling (especially if the sting is elsewhere) and trouble breathing or swallowing are all red flags.
- Response: Call 911. Anaphylaxis (a severe allergic reaction) happens quickly, so don’t hesitate to get help. See your child’s health care provider after the ER visit to be evaluated and get an Epi-pen to keep on hand.
Don’t let bees put a sting in your summer plans! Prepare by knowing what to do and acting fast when there is an emergency.
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