Ouch! What You Need To Know About Bee And Wasp Stings This Summer

Spending time outside is what many people look forward to all year, but one unavoidable, less enjoyable aspect of summer is the flying stinging insects. Bees and wasps are very different, yet they both are likely to sting under the right circumstances. Learn the difference between wasp and bee stings, signs you might be allergic, and how to treat stings so that these flying insects don't spoil your summer fun.

Some things to know about bee and wasp stings include:

The difference between wasp and bee stings.

There are some distinct differences between bees and wasps, though their stings may be very similar. One difference is that a bee releases its stinger when it stings you, along with a relatively large amount of venom, while a wasp retains its stinger and injects a mere fraction of the amount of venom. It is possible to be allergic to one or the other or both of these stinging insects.

Signs you could be allergic to stings.

Watch for symptoms that could indicate an allergic reaction to being stung; stings can be fatal for those that are allergic, and some people may not realize that they have an allergy until they have been stung. Be aware of the signs and take time to treat the sting, even if you aren't prone to allergic reactions. Some symptoms to watch for include:

  • Pain at the sting-site.
  • Itching.
  • Redness.
  • Inflammation around the sting.
  • Slight fever. 

For more information on sting allergies, visit a site like http://www.oakbrookallergists.com.

Ways to treat a bee or wasp sting.

If the individual stung has a history of reactions or if you are unsure about an allergy, use an epi-pen, or epinephrine, to prevent a potentially fatal reaction. If the person stung does not have a history of sensitivity and isn't exhibiting signs of a reaction, carefully remove the bee stinger, wash the sting-site gently, and ice the area. Use over-the-counter pain reliever and antihistamine to treat.

Make sure to call 911 if you notice any of the following:

  • Difficulty breathing.
  • Dizziness or feeling faint.
  • Swollen tongue.
  • A history of reactions to being stung.

Take precautions to avoid being stung by bees and wasps this summer. Wear light-colored clothing when working outside and skip the heavy perfumes, soap, and shampoo; bees and wasps may also be attracted to the scent of sweat, so be sure to shower and wear clean clothes when outside near these insects. Watch for the signs of an allergy to stings, and don't hesitate to seek medical attention when you suspect an allergic reaction.