How to Treat a Bee Sting That Is Swelled & Itching


When a bee stings you it releases toxin into your skin and a range of symptoms can result. Some side effects are mild, others are severe, even life threatening. The degree to which you react to a bee sting depends upon whether or not you are allergic to bees. Severe allergy can cause rapid or weak pulse, extreme swelling, difficulty breathing, swelling of the tongue and throat, upset stomach, dizziness, faintness and loss of consciousness. Developing swelling and itching is not uncommon, but you should consult your physician before self-treating incase more severe symptoms are looming.

Things You'll Need

  • Credit card, or tweezers
  • Mild soap
  • Paper towels
  • Meat tenderizer, or baking soda
  • Cotton balls
  • Hydrocortisone cream or calamine lotion
  • Ice pack
  • Remove the stinger from your skin if you have not already done so. It will look like a little black dot, or splinter. Scrape the stinger using the edge of a credit card or your fingernail. If you don't have a credit card, or a long enough fingernail to free the stinger from your skin use a pair of tweezers. Avoid squeezing the venom sac that is attached to the stinger, otherwise you may release more venom.

  • Wash the area the bee stung you with a mild soap and warm water. Rinse clean with cold water and pat dry with a paper towel.

  • Neutralize the venom from the bee sting by applying a cotton ball dipped in meat tenderizer. If you don't have meat tenderizer make a paste with 1 tbsp. baking soda and 1 tbsp. water. Leave either the tenderizer, or the baking soda on for 20 minutes.

  • Hold an ice pack on the area to numb it. Leave the ice pack on for 10 to 20 minutes. Reapply ice as needed for pain.

  • Apply hydrocortisone cream or calamine lotion to ease swelling, itching and redness.

  • Take an oral antihistamine that contains either diphenhydramine, or chlorpheniramine if itching is persistent or bothersome. Take acetaminophen, or ibuprofen to ease pain.

Tips & Warnings

  • Seek medical assistance if any of the following occur:
  • Previous life threatening reaction
  • Difficulty breathing or swallowing
  • Swelling of the mouth or throat
  • Faintness
  • Swelling is excessive (6 inches or larger, or entire limb)
  • Sting looks infected (site has red streaking and/or yellow drainage)
  • Feel sick or weak
  • Abdominal pain
  • 20 stings or more
  • Stings in mouth, nose, or eyes
  • Hives, or swelling on other parts of the body besides the part that was stung

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  • Photo Credit Hemera Technologies/ Images
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