Bee, Wasp, Hornet, and Ant Stings

Bites from some insects can also cause illnesses, such as Lyme disease from ticks, scabies from mites, and malaria from mosquitoes in certain parts of the world.

The most innocent situations can accidentally lead to a bee sting: walking barefoot through the grass, brushing what you thought was a harmless bug off of your neck, or even reaching over to sniff a flower.

First, don’t panic. Then, take action. It’s a good idea to follow these steps after a bee sting, per board-certified dermatologist Gary Goldenberg, M.D., assistant clinical professor of dermatology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York:

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You can often treat an insect bite or sting without seeing a GP.

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Allergic reactions to bee stings can be very serious, and you’ll want to call your doctor if the area continues to swell, becomes more red or painful over time, or starts to feels hot to the touch.


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Bee Sting Signs & Symptoms

It doesn’t exactly feel good to get stung by a bee, but it’s not always unbearable (depending on the species). Hottel cites the work of entomologist Justin Schmidt at the University of Arizona for this one. He wrote a book called The Sting of the Wild, where he classified the pain associated with different stings on a scale of one to four, with four being the most painful. “He ranks honey bees at a two and describes the sting to feel like, ‘burning, corrosive, but you can handle it,’” Hottel says.

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A pharmacist can advise you about medicines that can help ease the symptoms of a bite or sting, such as:

The bite or sting should get better in a few days. There are some things you can do to ease your symptoms.

If there’s nothing in your skin, or you’ve removed it, wash your skin with soap and water to help lower the chance of infection.

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In severe cases, an allergic reaction to a bee sting can cause anaphylaxis, which can occur just a few minutes after the sting. You should seek medical attention immediately if you feel short of breath, your tongue or lips swell, you feel a tightness in your throat, or lose consciousness (due to a drop in blood pressure).

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Immediate action required: Call 999 if:

You’ve been bitten or stung by an insect and:

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If anything is left on or in your skin, the first thing you need to do is remove it carefully.

Bee, Wasp, Hornet, and Ant Stings

Bee Sting Swelling

They all have slightly different venom, so the way each one can impact you may vary. (That means if you’re allergic to bee stings, you may not necessarily be allergic to wasp or hornet stings.)

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First: Why do bees sting people?

These can be signs of a serious allergic reaction and may need immediate treatment in hospital.

You or the person who’s unwell may also have a rash that’s swollen, raised or itchy.


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