Bee Sting First Aid and Treatment

Read details on bee sting treatment to get relief from swelling and pain.

When honey bees or stinging insects see danger from their enemies or when somebody disturbes their hives, then they sting as a defence. These insects aggressively defend their nests.

A bee sting includes a sting from a honey bee, bumblebee, sweat bee, etc. It can also be a sting of a bee, wasp, yellowjacket or hornet.

When honey bees and insects sting their victims, they inject venom or or toxin. This can have a painful reaction and highly inflammatory. Some wasps like European wasp and paperwasp may be dangerous. The venom of a repeated sting of European wasp inside a person's throat can cause massive swelling and sudden death by suffocation.

The bee or wasp stinger penetrates the skin and infuses venom that can cause an allergic reaction. The venom is poisonous but the injury is usually confined to the areas close to the sting. But some people whose immune systems are allergic to the venom, their body may overreact to the venom and an allergic reaction may happen throughout their body.

Pictures of Bee Sting

The allergic reaction may be fatal in these people and they need immediate emergency medical care after an insect sting. Multiple stings from some insects may cause muscle breakdown or kidney failure.


It is important to note that a bee sting is different than an insect bite as the venom of stinging insects is quite different. The most aggressive stinging insects are bald-faced hornets, yellowjackets, etc.

The body's reaction to a bee sting may be different in different species. The symptoms of mild allergic reaction of the sting are itching, redness of the skin, pain, watery eyes, etc. The symptoms of severe allergic reaction are dizziness, nausea, vomiting and difficulty in breathing and swallowing. The majority of serious allergic reactions from stings are observed or felt within an hour or in rare cases, up to four or more hours of being stung.

If you don't have any allergy, then simple stings require only first aid at home or a home remedy. Remove any bee stingers remaining in the skin. Wash the sting wound on the body with soap and water. A towel soaked in cold water acts will reduce the swelling, redness and itching of the skin.

If you have pain, then you may take ibuprofen or acetaminophen. You can take antihistamine for itching.

Small children, elderly people, sick people and those have previously had a serious allergic reaction are at increased risk. They should be treated and watched very carefully after being stung.


  1. Apply toothpaste on the wound. It works in 15 minutes for most people. The glycerin in the toothpaste dries out the venom under the sting area. The alkaline toothpaste can neutralize the acid in the bee's venom. This is the best bee sting first aid and home remedy.
  2. Wrap ice in a cloth and place on the bee sting wound for 15-20 minutes at a time. It works for most people. Ice cools and numbs the skin and reduces the pain. It also reduces swelling by slowing down the blood flow to the cold area.
  3. Rub a slice of green unripe fresh papaya directly on bee sting wound. The papain enzyme in papayas lessens the effect of the venom. Select a meat tenderizer which contains papain. This is an excellent bee sting remedy.
  4. Make a paste by mixing equal parts of vinegar, baking soda and meat tenderizer. Apply to the bee sting wound and leave 15-20 minutes. The meat tenderizer contains papain enzyme that lessens the effect of the venom. it speeds up the healing of wounds. If any allergic reaction such as a rash or skin irritation results, discontinue its use.
  5. Take out some tobacco from a cigarette, squish it together with fingers and thumb and some water and make a ball. Place the tobacco ball on the wound and apply a bandage over it. In about 5-10 minutes, The pain and swelling may stop in 10-15 minutes.
  6. Mix 2 drops of tea tree oil with 1 drop of cooking oil and apply on the wound.
  7. Mix a few drops of carbolic acid to a teaspoon of cooking oil and apply. In most cases, the redness, pain, itching and sting will be gone in minutes to give you relief.
  8. If a child younger than 2 years old is stung, keep the child away from direct sun and apply lavender oil.

When to Consult a Doctor?

The sting may be painful for a few hours. Swelling and itching may persist for a week. The area should not be scratched as it will only increase the itching and swelling. If a reaction persists for over a week or covers an area greater than 7-10 cm (3 or 4 inches), medical attention should be sought. Doctors often recommend a tetanus immunization.

If you previously at any time had a serious allergic reaction by a bee or wasp, consider taking an antihistamine medicine immediately and go to the Doctor.

Insect stings in non allergic people usually do not cause serious problems. However, multiple stings may cause muscle breakdown or kidney failure in non allergic people. so go to your Doctor in case of multiple stings.

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Disclaimer: Please note that the home remedies are only for minor common symptoms and should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. You should not rely on these remedies. Always consult your Doctor for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. You should also avoid using any of these remedies if you are allergic to any of the ingredients. The writer of this article or is not responsible in any manner.

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