Reacting correctly: The best tips for bee and wasp stings

Bee and wasp stings should always be taken seriously.

Reacting correctly: The best tips for bee and wasp stings

Bee and wasp stings should always be taken seriously. Anyone who is stung by a bee or wasp should definitely keep a cool head at first. With a few tips and tricks, however, you can usually get help quickly.

Insects can be extremely annoying in summer. Bee and wasp stings are particularly tough. They usually not only cause severe pain, but can also cause violent reactions in allergy sufferers. These are the most important tips.

In the event of a bee sting, the stinger should be gently pulled out with tweezers. If you don't have one at hand, you can use your fingernails very carefully. Particular attention is paid to the venom sac that sits at the end of the stinger. This should not be damaged under any circumstances when you pull it out so that the poison does not get into the puncture site. For this it is advisable not to remove the spike from above, but from the side.

To prevent germs from getting into the wound and, in the worst case, causing an infection, you should first let water run over the puncture site. Then carefully dry and disinfect them. The next step is to fight the itching.

Opinions differ on this question: Does cold or heat relieve the pain after a sting? The fact is, both can help. Press a cool pack or ice cubes wrapped in a cloth on the itchy area, as this reduces blood flow to the skin and relieves the pain. Cool the area until the itching and swelling go down.

The opposite principle applies to heat: To do this, press a so-called heat pen, available in the pharmacy, onto the sting. The heat generated by the pen prevents the pain from spreading further.

Anyone suffering from particularly bad itching after a sting can resort to antiallergic drugs. Depending on the need, there are ointments, pastes or tablets. You should seek individual advice from a doctor or pharmacy beforehand.

Some people are allergic to bee or wasp stings. They should always have precautionary kits with them containing their emergency medicine, including cortisone and an adrenaline shot.

If someone has a surprising allergic reaction after a sting, suffers from circulatory problems, shortness of breath or nausea, there is no time to lose. In the event of such reactions, bystanders must call emergency services immediately.

The same goes for a stab in the mouth. Here, too, an ambulance must be called, because the bite could swell the mouth and throat so much that it is difficult to breathe. As with stings in other places, cold can help. Those affected should treat the area with a cool pack or let an ice cube melt in their mouth until the emergency services arrive.

(This article was first published on Saturday, June 11, 2022.)

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