Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)

How Do You Treat Bee Stings?

Posted by on Jul. 23, 2014 at 11:45 AM
  • 9 Replies

Bee & Wasp Stings: How to Treat Them in Kids

by Judy Dutton

One of my earliest (but definitely not fondest) childhood memories occurred at age 4 when a bee whizzed by and stung me on the face. Granted, I'd swatted at it first, so I guess I had it coming to me. Needless to say, bee and wasp stings can be terrifying for kids, and many parents don't know the right way to treat them. Here's how to minimize the damage:

Remove the stinger as quickly as possible. If the stinger is still impaled in the skin (which typically happens with bees but not wasps), get it out pronto. The reason: It contains a sac that's still pumping in venom; studies have shown that even a delay of a few seconds allows more to seep into the tissue. "Some advocate using the edge of a credit card to gently scrape the stinger off, as this might perhaps decrease the likelihood of unintentionally squeezing more venom into the sting," says Jorge Parada, MD, professor of infectious diseases at Loyola University and medical advisor for the National Pest Management Association. "Tweezers are also a good tool."

Clean the area with soap and water, then apply ice. A cold compress or ice pack will not only minimize swelling, but constrict blood vessels under the skin, stemming the spread of the venom. "If the sting is on an extremity, it is also helpful to elevate the limb," adds Parada.

Bring in stronger treatments if necessary. Bee stings typically don't itch, but they can be very painful. To ease a child's discomfort, you can give him an age-appropriate dose of Tylenol. For children over the age of 2, over-the-counter topical steroids like hydrocortisone cream can also be rubbed on the sting to further reduce swelling, but check with your doctor if you have any concerns first and take care to use it sparingly. "In a young child whose skin is thinner and absorbs things more readily, topical steroids can have the effect of taking high-dose steroids, and you don't want to use them lightly," warns Parada. "That said, for a bee sting, it's not a big issue, since you're applying the cream to a small area. I think it posts relatively little risk. It's not like you're covering 20 mosquito bites. One caveat is you should make sure the area is well washed and clean, since steroids increase the risk of infection."

Keep an eye on the size. "Most bee stings will give you a welt of one to four inches," explains Parada. "But if it starts going beyond that, or it's smaller and you start to notice other symptoms in your child -- itching all over the body, wheezing, hives unrelated to the sting, lightheadedness -- you should go to the ER as quickly as possible." Everyone feels and reacts differently to bee stings: For some, the welt will subside in a couple of hours. "Others are superbly allergic to bee venom and even the most minor of stings will set off a life-threatening reaction," says Parada. If your child falls into the latter category, you should take special precautions, like carrying an EpiPen.

And remember -- unlike mosquitoes, bees and wasps typically won't bother you unless you bug them, so encourage your kids to leave them well enough alone.

How do you treat bee stings on kids?

by on Jul. 23, 2014 at 11:45 AM
Add your quick reply below:
You must be a member to reply to this post.
Replies (1-9):
mandee1503
by Amanda on Jul. 23, 2014 at 11:48 AM
We've never had that issue so I had no idea. Thanks for sharing.
letstalk747
by Ruby Member on Jul. 23, 2014 at 11:55 AM

havent had any yet

PinkButterfly66
by on Jul. 23, 2014 at 11:59 AM

The best bee/wasp sting remedy that actually works to relieve pain and swelling (tested on me) is equal parts of minced raw onion (must be the kind that makes you cry when chopped), apple cider vinegar and baking soda.  Apply to sting area with bandage.  Reapply with fresh poultice when pain comes back.  Swelling and pain is relieved quickly.

jjamom
by Michele on Jul. 23, 2014 at 12:38 PM
Only my DD has ever been stung and does usually have localized swelling and redness. The doctor told us to give her Benadryl and watch her carefully for respiratory distress, swelling tongue, throat closing up, etc. She had a bad one once on the chin and although it was localized swelling, if was in a really bad place so close to her throat. She looked like one of those lop eared bunnies with the huge chin. It was scary! She is terrified of bees now.
arkansasmama08
by Gold Member on Jul. 23, 2014 at 1:01 PM
We always put a baking soda/water paste on it after we remove the singer. It takes the sting and pain out and seems to reduce swelling.
Linagma03
by Platinum Member on Jul. 23, 2014 at 4:41 PM

So far Lina, A and myself have been stung by wasps and the stingers aren't in there. What it said about leaving the wasps alone and they will leave you alone? Not so much because the ones we had are naturally aggressive I can't remember the name of the wasp but just being in the vacinity of them is enough to set them off and don't have any food with you because then you practically get mobbed by them. But the 3 of us are allergic so A and myself are more careful but Lina isn't as careful as she should be. When I get stung I take a mega dose of benedryl and watch for the anaphylatic signs. I do the same with Lina and A but their mega dose is only about 100mg but for me I take 300mg. So far it has worked and we haven't needed to use our EpiPens. We all have delayed reactions so we have to watch for the signs up to 6 hours. 


jjamom
by Michele on Jul. 23, 2014 at 5:38 PM
Yep and yep! We had these wasps the past few summers (so far so good this year, knock on wood) that are aggressive. One stalked my daughter when she was home alone and she called to tell me she was holed up in my sons room. I laughed. When I got home (a good 1 1/2 hours later) she was still in there. The wasp was on my other sons door across the hall and second she opened the other door it made a beeline (literally, ha) for her. I ended up killing it.

Yep also to the delayed reaction. She got stung at school once and they knew what to do based on the doctor filling out the form. It looked ok even when she got home from school, but later that evening, her whole finger swelled up!

Quoting Linagma03:

So far Lina, A and myself have been stung by wasps and the stingers aren't in there. What it said about leaving the wasps alone and they will leave you alone? Not so much because the ones we had are naturally aggressive I can't remember the name of the wasp but just being in the vacinity of them is enough to set them off and don't have any food with you because then you practically get mobbed by them. But the 3 of us are allergic so A and myself are more careful but Lina isn't as careful as she should be. When I get stung I take a mega dose of benedryl and watch for the anaphylatic signs. I do the same with Lina and A but their mega dose is only about 100mg but for me I take 300mg. So far it has worked and we haven't needed to use our EpiPens. We all have delayed reactions so we have to watch for the signs up to 6 hours. 

Linagma03
by Platinum Member on Jul. 23, 2014 at 6:17 PM

Lina got stung several times on the belly thru her shirt one day by one of those wasps only one was an actual sting the other 2 or 3 were more like scratches. I gave her benedryl (didn't know she was allergic at that time) and iced the area. The swelling was about 3" long and 1" wide but barely above the skin but she had no other reaction. The next day she spent all day in the ice cold pool. By dinner time the swelling was triple what it had been and now was easily a 1/4 inch above the skin. I took her to urgent care where the doctor checked her out really well and gave her another strong dose of benedryl and prednisone and told me that it was not all that uncommon for a reaction to come on that long after the initial sting. She said that what really surprised her was that it did that amount of swelling while she spent so much time in the ice cold water. She said that in her opinion the next time she was stung it would most likely be an anaphylatic reaction. So now she has an EpiPen. She hasn't been stung since thankfully. They follow you around no matter how far you go they are nasty things.   

Quoting jjamom: Yep and yep! We had these wasps the past few summers (so far so good this year, knock on wood) that are aggressive. One stalked my daughter when she was home alone and she called to tell me she was holed up in my sons room. I laughed. When I got home (a good 1 1/2 hours later) she was still in there. The wasp was on my other sons door across the hall and second she opened the other door it made a beeline (literally, ha) for her. I ended up killing it. Yep also to the delayed reaction. She got stung at school once and they knew what to do based on the doctor filling out the form. It looked ok even when she got home from school, but later that evening, her whole finger swelled up!
Quoting Linagma03:

So far Lina, A and myself have been stung by wasps and the stingers aren't in there. What it said about leaving the wasps alone and they will leave you alone? Not so much because the ones we had are naturally aggressive I can't remember the name of the wasp but just being in the vacinity of them is enough to set them off and don't have any food with you because then you practically get mobbed by them. But the 3 of us are allergic so A and myself are more careful but Lina isn't as careful as she should be. When I get stung I take a mega dose of benedryl and watch for the anaphylatic signs. I do the same with Lina and A but their mega dose is only about 100mg but for me I take 300mg. So far it has worked and we haven't needed to use our EpiPens. We all have delayed reactions so we have to watch for the signs up to 6 hours. 


darbyakeep45
by Darby on Jul. 24, 2014 at 4:53 AM

Thanks for sharing...never had this happen thank goodness!

Add your quick reply below:
You must be a member to reply to this post.
Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)