Treating Bee Stings in The Bay Area

Bay Area AHA First-aid Training Courses

First-aid training for bee stings in the Bay Area

First-aid for bee stings

Anyone who has ever had the misfortune of being stung by a bee in the Bay Area knows it is a painful ordeal. When a bee stings a person venom with harmful proteins are introduced into the person’s blood stream, damaging skin cells and the immune system. Avoiding bees altogether is not realistic, meaning you should know how to treat a bee sting, either on yourself or on someone else. Most people have a mild reaction to bee stings, including pain and swelling at the site of the sting. Other people are allergic to bee stings and experience a violent immune system reaction after being stung, which presents a serious health issue that must be treated.

The quickest way to tell if a person is experiencing an allergic reaction to a bee sting is to examine that person’s reaction or symptoms after having been stung. Signs that a person is reacting normally to a bee sting include a red welt that forms around the wound, light swelling of the skin around the sting and a white spot at the exact point where the bee’s stinger punctured the skin. Some people experience slightly more severe symptoms that are not a sign of an allergic reaction. These symptoms, which are termed a large local reaction, include the skin turning a deep red around the site of the sting and the skin swelling around the wound for up to two days after the sting.

Someone who has an allergic reaction to a sting might experience swelling, hives or other skin reactions manifesting in other parts of the body. Other symptoms of an allergic reaction to a bee sting include vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, trouble breathing, a slow or fast heart rate, dizziness and even a loss of consciousness. If you know you have an allergy to bee stings, you should carry an EpiPen and use it as directed by your physician. The American Heart Association teaches CPR & first-aid courses in the Bay Area where you learn how to use the EPI-Pen.

Adults are more likely to experience an allergic reaction to bee stings. If you were stung by a bee and swelled up, even when you were a child, you are more likely to experience an allergic reaction if you are stung again. If you take a beta blocker or certain other medications you are more likely to experience severe symptoms from a bee sting. Consult with your Bay Area pharmacist or physician if you do not know the side effects of any medication you are taking.

If you are stung by a bee, you should remove the stinger and the attached venom sack from your skin as quickly as possible, lessening the amount of venom introduced to your bloodstream. Since the stinger is barbed, you might need to pull it out with tweezers or the edge of a credit card. After you have removed the stinger, you should wash the area around the wound using soap and water. Avoid scratching the wound since any germs on your fingernails could be introduced into the open wound and lead to an infection. To lessen any swelling and relieve pain, apply cold compresses to the wound site.

When you experience a large local reaction to a bee sting, you need to take the same first steps. In addition, apply calamine lotion or hydrocortisone cream to the wound site to help with the itching and swelling. If the itching continues, you can take an antihistamine pill or liquid, such as Benadryl. Of course, the best way to deal with bee stings is to avoid being stung. Bees are attracted to sweetness, so avoid eating sweet or sugary foods outside. Only use cups or bottles that are clear or have a wide enough of an opening that you can see if a bee is sitting inside. When working on your yard, wear long pants, shoes and a long-sleeve shirt to protect against bee stings. If you do see a bee flying around you, do not try to swat or otherwise attack the bee, since it might react by stinging you.

Normally people are only stung by one bee. In some rare cases a person might disturb a beehive unwittingly and subsequently be stung multiple times. The victim might experience some of the same symptoms as someone who is allergic to bee stings. People who have heart or respiratory problems, children and the elderly can potentially die from multiple bee stings and should be immediately treated by a trained Bay Area physician. If you live in the Bay Area, the American Heart Association recommends you take a first-aid certification course where you will learn how to deal with bee stings.

Upcoming First-aid certification classes in the Bay Area