Allergic Reactions to Stings

By Heather Legg

Bees and wasps are really bad this time of year. In fact, a friend’s son and husband just had an encounter with a nest of angry bees. The boy was getting stung and his dad helped him, getting stung himself. The result was one for the boy and three for the dad. However, the dad was stung on the hand which proceeded to swell.

How do you know when to seek help when something swells due to a bee sting? Here is some advice from emedicinehealth.com:

• Call your doctor or go to a hospital’s emergency department if a large localized reaction (greater than about 10 inches in diameter) occurs, evidence of infection (increasing pain, swelling, redness, drainage of pus or fever) is present at the sting site, or any symptoms last for more than a day or two.
• If you are alone and having a reaction, call 911 instead of driving yourself. It is a bad idea to drive as you may lose consciousness or become unable to drive in other ways.

Any of the following can be signs or indications of an allergic reaction, even in someone who has been stung with no reaction:
• Difficulty breathing
• Difficulty speaking
• Swelling in the mouth or throat
• Rash all over the body
• Faintness or decreased level of consciousness
• If more than 10-20 stings have occurred, especially with wasp stings or in children, elderly people, or people with underlying medical problems
• If the sting involves the inside of the mouth or throat, especially if in children and/or involves more than one sting
• If the sting involves the eyeball itself
• If a person has been stung by an insect species that has previously caused an allergic reaction in the person-even if there is no evidence of a current allergic reaction (The safe thing to do is to head for an emergency department in case the person suddenly develops an allergic reaction.)

Make sure you avoid chances of getting stung by following these tips:
• Do not wear fragrances or perfumes when going outside
• Stay away from trash cans where yellow jackets tend to be to find sweet things
• Keep food covered and throw it away when finished when eating outside
• Wear light clothes without bright patters which attract bees.
• Wear long pants and long sleeves if doing yardwork.
• If you suspect of hive, leave it alone. Call a professional to get rid of it.

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