Health Advice



'Bee' prepared for insect stings

From Mayo Clinic News Network, Mayo Clinic News Network on

Published in Health & Fitness

Treating stings

After any sting, remove the stinger as soon as you can. It takes only seconds for the venom to enter your body. Use your fingernails or a tweezers. Then wash the sting area with soap and water.

If you notice a minor to moderate reaction, such as redness, warmth or swelling around the sting, apply a cold compress and take an over-the-counter oral antihistamine. You may want to apply hydrocortisone cream or calamine lotion to ease any symptoms.

If you have a more serious reaction to single or multiple bee stings, even if it's just one or two of the serious symptoms listed above, call 911.

Preventing stings

The following tips can reduce your risk of getting stung by bees, hornets and wasps:


Take care when drinking sweet beverages outside. Wide, open cups may be your best option because you can see if a bee is in them. Inspect cans and straws before drinking from them.

Tightly cover food containers and trash cans.

Clear away garbage, fallen fruit, and dog or other animal feces, which can draw flies and flies can attract wasps.

Wear closed-toe shoes when walking outside.


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