What is a Bee Sting Allergy & How is it Treated?

What Is Bee Sting Allergy?

It is not uncommon for anyone to be stung by a bee at some point or the other in their life, especially when someone is on a camping trip out in some woody area. A Bee Sting is extremely painful and irritating. The area around the sting becomes swollen at times and red. These are something, which is common with everyone who has had a Bee Sting and should not be taken seriously. The situation however becomes serious if an individual is allergic to a Bee Sting as this may cause a variety of symptoms, some of which may be even life threatening such as an anaphylactic shock.

Whenever a Bee strikes, it leaves the stinger on the surface of the skin through, which the venom of the bee spreads and it is extremely important to immediately remove the stinger before the venom spreads enough to cause symptoms. The stinger can be removed easily through the edge of a visiting card or a debit card. It should be made sure that the stinger should not be tried to be taken out using fingers, as it may cause spread of the venom and cause an infection due to Bee Sting. Bee Sting Allergy is a rare phenomenon, but when it happens it needs emergent attention.

What is a Bee Sting Allergy & How is it Treated?

There is no known cause for Bee Sting Allergy and an allergy may not become apparent when an individual is stung for the first time, but if an individual is stung repeatedly, then it may cause a Bee Sting Allergy. The people most at risk for this condition are beekeepers who are frequently stung by bees almost on a daily basis.

If an individual has Bee Sting Allergy, then the moment one is stung by a bee, person will develop painful hives and swelling and there will be blockage of the airways making it very difficult for the individual to breathe. In such cases, emergent medical attention is required and the individual should be taken to the nearest urgent care center or emergency room for treatment of Bee Sting Allergy.

What Are The Symptoms of Bee Sting Allergy?

The common symptoms of Bee Sting Allergy, which are not a cause of concern:

  • Pain at the site of the sting
  • Swelling at the site of the sting
  • Erythema at the site of the sting
  • Severe itching with a burning sensation at the site of the sting

These symptoms are very common and go away on their own within a few days.

The more serious symptoms of Bee Sting Allergy are:

All these symptoms suggest severe Bee Sting Allergy and require emergent medical attention.

How Is Bee Sting Allergy Diagnosed?

There are a host of tests, which are available which can identify whether an individual is allergic to any insect. This is also the case with Bee Sting Allergy but the most accomplished test to confirm Bee Sting Allergy begins by the doctor taking a detailed note of the symptoms experienced by the patient after a bee sting. Once this is done, A Skin Prick test is done. This is the gold standard in determining whether an individual has Bee Sting Allergy. In this test, a part of the skin of an individual is pricked and the venom of the bee is introduced into the skin. The response of the skin is tested. If there is sudden development of erythema or hives will clearly confirm the diagnosis of Bee Sting Allergy.

How Is Bee Sting Allergy Treated?

In majority of cases, individuals with Bee Sting Allergy who do not develop much in the way of symptoms other than swelling, itching, or erythema do not require any treatment. These symptoms may go away on their own within a few days. You can try and put some coconut oil on the affected area to calm down the swelling and itchiness. In case if an individual is experiencing severe symptoms such as difficulty breathing and severe swelling on the lip and throat, then it requires emergent medical attention and the individual should be taken to the nearest emergency room. You can even start treatment before taking the individual to the emergency room by first removing the stinger, so that the venom does not spread. You can then clean the area with soap and water and apply ice for a few minutes to calm down the swelling.

The itching can be calmed down by applying hydrocortisone cream.

For individuals who lose consciousness due to Bee Sting Allergy, then immediate CPR should be given, and make the individual as comfortable as possible and remove any tight clothing especially near the airways. Once the individual reaches the emergency room, immediate treatment will be started with careful monitoring of the vital signs of the patient. The patient will be put on oxygen to facilitate breathing. The patient may also be given cortisone or antihistamines to improve breathing. Once the symptoms start to improve, the patient will be given epinephrine or EpiPen to carry with themselves at all the time in cases of anaphylactic shocks caused due to Bee Sting Allergy.

How Can Bee Sting Allergy Be Prevented?

Bee Sting Allergy in some cases may be dangerous, but it is always better to protect yourself. Some of the things that you can do to prevent something like a Bee Sting Allergy are:

  • Never swat at insects.
  • Any beehives around the home should be removed immediately
  • Wear protective clothing when near beehives. This is especially for beekeepers.
  • Be careful when eating or drinking outside.
  • Keep trash covered.

If these things are followed, then you can most of the time avoid getting stung by something like a bee and avoid getting Bee Sting Allergy.

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:December 7, 2022

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