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Bee Stings

Most reactions to bees are mild, but severe allergic reactions lead to between 40 and 50 deaths each year. An allergic reaction to a bee sting can occur even if a person has been stung before with no complications.

Symptoms of an Allergic Reaction

Symptoms of an allergic reaction to a bee sting include:

  • swelling in the face or an area other than where the sting occurred
  • hives
  • itching
  • rash
  • difficulty breathing
  • shock

Allergic reaction to bee stings usually happen within the first few hours. If you have ever had an allergic reaction to a sting, experts recommend carrying epinephrine, a prescription hormone given by injection to support blood pressure, increase heart rate, and relax airways.

How to Protect Yourself from getting Stung by a Bee

To keep bees away, wear light-colored clothing and avoid scented soaps and perfumes. Don't leave food, drinks, and garbage out uncovered.

How to Treat a Bee Sting

Treat a bee sting by scraping the stinger away in a side-to-side motion with a credit card or fingernail, and then washing the area with soap and water. Pulling the stinger or using tweezers may push more venom into the skin. For any bug bite or sting, ice or a cold compress and over the counter pain-relieving creams or oral medications can help.

Complications of a Bee Sting

One of the complications of a bee sting is a tetanus infection. After getting the regular series of childhood tetanus shots, adults should have a tetanus booster shot every 10 years.

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