|Bee or Yellow Jacket Sting|
View First Aid Advice
|When to Call Your Doctor|
|Call 911 Now (your child may need an ambulance) If|
|Call Your Doctor Now (night or day) If|
|Call Your Doctor Within 24 Hours (between 9 am and 4 pm) If|
|Call Your Doctor During Weekday Office Hours If|
|Parent Care at Home If|
|Causes & Health Information|
Skin Reactions to the Sting
- The bee's stinger injects venom into the skin. The venom is what causes the symptoms.
- The main symptoms are pain, itching, swelling and redness at the sting site.
- Severe pain or burning at the site lasts 1 to 2 hours. Itching often follows the pain.
- Swelling. The bee sting may swell for 48 hours after the sting. The swelling can be small or large. Stings on the face can cause a lot of swelling around the eye. It looks bad, but this is not serious.
- Redness. Bee stings are often red. That doesn't mean they are infected. Infections rarely happen with stings.
- The redness can last 3 days and the swelling 7 days.
- A severe life-threatening allergic reaction is called anaphylaxis.
- The main symptoms are hives with trouble breathing and swallowing. It starts within 2 hours of the sting.
- This severe reaction to bee stings happens in 4 out of a 1,000 children.
- Hives. After a bee sting, some children just develop hives all over or face swelling. Hives or face swelling alone may be able to be treated at home. But, at times, these symptoms can also lead to anaphylaxis. Be sure to call your doctor now to help decide.
|CARE ADVICE FOR BEE OR YELLOW JACKET STING|
- What You Should Know:
- Bee stings are common.
- The main symptoms are pain and redness.
- The swelling can be large. This does not mean it's an allergy.
- Here is some care advice that should help.
- Try to Remove the Stinger (if present):
- Only honey bees leave a stinger.
- The stinger looks like a tiny black dot in the sting.
- Use a fingernail or credit card edge to scrape it off.
- If the stinger is below the skin surface, leave it alone. It will come out with normal skin shedding.
- Meat Tenderizer:
- Make a meat tenderizer paste with a little water. Use a cotton ball to rub it on the sting. Do this once for 20 minutes. Reason: This may neutralize the venom and reduce the pain and swelling. Caution: Do not use near the eye.
- If you don't have any, use an aluminum-based deodorant. You can also put a baking soda paste on the sting. Do this for 20 minutes.
- Cold Pack:
- If pain does not improve after using the meat tenderizer paste, rub with an ice cube.
- Do this for 20 minutes.
- Pain Medicine:
- To help with the pain, give acetaminophen (such as Tylenol) or ibuprofen. Use as needed. See Dose Table.
- Steroid Cream:
- For itching or swelling, put 1% hydrocortisone cream on the sting. No prescription is needed.
- Use 3 times per day.
- Allergy Medicine:
- For hives or severe itching, give a dose of Benadryl. See Dose Table.
- What to Expect:
- Severe pain or burning at the site lasts 1 to 2 hours.
- Normal swelling from venom can increase for 48 hours after the sting.
- The redness can last 3 days.
- The swelling can last 7 days.
- Call Your Doctor If:
- Trouble breathing or swallowing occurs (mainly during the 2 hours after the sting.) Call 911.
- Redness gets larger after 2 days
- Swelling becomes huge
- Sting starts to look infected
- Your child becomes worse
And remember, contact your doctor if your child develops any of the "Call Your Doctor" symptoms.
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Disclaimer: This information is not intended be a substitute for professional medical advice. It is provided for educational purposes only. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information.
Author and Senior Reviewer: Barton D. Schmitt, M.D.
Last Reviewed: 9/1/2012
Last Revised: 2/7/2013
Content Set: Child Symptom Checker
Copyright 1994-2012 Barton D. Schmitt, M.D.