Bee stings are a nuisance that most everyone will experience at least once in their lives. In most cases, a bee sting will be immediately followed by some form of pain and swelling, but typically subsides quickly. In some cases, an allergic reaction can occur that requires immediate medical attention, in which case a home remedy will not be sufficient to treat the symptoms. In cases of allergies, the bee venom can seriously affect the immune system and cause medical issues. If you believe a bee has stung you, immediate symptoms will include a welt at the site, redness, and swelling around the site, and an instant burning sensation at the infected area. In most cases where an allergy is not involved, people experience these symptoms for a short period only.
Mild to Severe Allergic Reaction to Bee Venom
If you are allergic to the venom that is produced by a bee sting, you may experience symptoms that are much more severe and may require immediate medical attention. Allergic reactions to bee stings can range from mild to severe and depend on the sting. Many people who have only experienced mild allergic reactions in the past can receive a bee sting that escalates into a more severe reaction. An allergic reaction can take only minutes to occur, but has been known to take several hours and even days to surface. Symptoms of this type of allergic reaction can include tightness in the chest or shortness of breath, a large area of redness and swelling, and itching all over the body (including hives). In more severe cases, upset stomach and digestive issues can occur, as well as lightheadedness, and even complete loss of consciousness.
Anaphylaxis Caused by Allergic Reaction to Bee Venom
Anaphylaxis is a medical emergency that requires immediate attention and can be life threatening. Symptoms of anaphylaxis include hives and itching all over the body, closure of the throat and swelling of the tongue that restricts breathing, a weak or quick pulse, loss of consciousness and digestive upset. If any of these symptoms is experienced, call 911 or contact a doctor immediately.
“ENY122/AA159: Bee Stings and “Allergic” Reactions.” EDIS – Electronic Data Information Source – UF/IFAS Extension. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Oct. 2010. http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/aa159.
“About Bee and Wasp Stings.” West Virginia University. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Oct. 2010. http://www.wvu.edu/~agexten/wildlife/bees.htm.