Bee stings can cause pain, discomfort, redness, and swelling. Most bee stings are insignificant, and they do not usually require a doctor’s care. While many stings don’t need to be treated, some may need extra attention. Bee stings can become infected and may need medical care. Infections can occur when the affected area is scratched and broken open. Dirt and bacteria seep into the open wound and cause contamination. An infection from a bee sting can be serious and sometimes fatal. It is beneficial to understand the differences between an infection and a typical sting.
Symptoms of Infection
A bee sting can cause reactions to the skin that include redness, inflammation, and pain. These signs are also present with an infection, however the severity is stronger. An infected area may become significantly blistered and crusty. The skin may feel extremely tender and warm, and a thickness on the surface can develop. While pain with a bee sting may be minimal, an infection can cause serious burning that increases each day. An infected area may leak a pus-like liquid, and in many cases, a high fever can develop. A bee sting infection can cause the lymph glands to swell. In extreme circumstances, the infection can spread to the heart. A sign of this is a red streak that runs up the arms or legs toward the heart. Most bee sting infections develop within two or three days after the sting. If the reactions from a sting do not improve after several days, or if the condition worsens, an infection is most likely present.
Treating an Infection
Once an infection is discovered, it is necessary to get medical care. An infection that is left untreated can cause a number of serious health problems. Treatment for an infection can vary depending on the severity of the infection. A doctor may prescribe an oral antibiotic or an antibiotic lotion. While waiting for treatment from a physician, an anti-allergy pill can be taken. Antihistamines are very successful in lessening the effects of infections. A topical anti-allergy cream can be used to reduce the pain and itching.
“Bee and Wasp Stings.” eMedicineHealth.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Oct. 2010. www.emedicinehealth.com/bee_and_wasp_stings/page3_em.htm.
The Doctors Book of Home Remedies for Women: Women Doctors Reveal over 2,000 Self-Help Tips on the Health Problems That Concern Women the Most. Emmaus, Pennsylvania: Rodale Press, 1997. Print.