Saturday, December 13, 2008

I got stung by a bee - now what?

The bee's Apitoxin can be deactivated with ethanol. The longer bee stingers are allowed to remain in the body, the more severe the reaction will be.

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. For about 2 percent of people, anaphylactic shock from certain proteins in the venom can be life-threatening and requires emergency treatment by a physician.[7] If the victim is allergic to bee stings, the victim must be treated to prevent shock. People known to be highly allergic may carry around epinephrine in the form of a self-injectable Epipen for the treatment of an anaphylactic shock. - WIKI

The pain will usually go away pretty quickly, but swelling may last for more than a day. Use an ice pack to reduce swelling at the site.
Take the victim to the emergency department if the victim was stung more than 10 times, or if there are bee stings inside the nose, mouth, or throat. Swelling from these stings can cause shortness of breath, even in non-allergic victims.

It's common to develop some itching at the bee sting site. Antihistamines or calamine lotion should help.

NVDL: It's the second time this year that I have been stung. The first time I was in a bike race so did not remove my helmet and the sting had the opportunity - wind notwithstanding - to take full effect.

On a training ride yesterday I immediately removed my helmet and asked that a friend remove the sting.

It turns out that one should remove the sting immediately, and that it doesn't matter how. Also interesting is that bee venom is the only insect toxin specifically evolved for mammals.

24 hours after my sting I can barely see out of my eyes as my tear ducts and the bags under my eyes are fully inflated. This reaction occurred quicker than my first sting. It is possible the bicycle race allowed the toxin to distribute, to some extent, in my bloodstream. On the other hand, I have used antihistamines which, I have to say, have had no impact other than to make me drowsy.

I think the reason I was stung was that the bee and me were both in the wrong place at the wrong time. Probably the bee didn't see me coming. Touche.

Honeybees a vital hazard
Couple of stings a day takes the sting out of bee stings
clipped from
All of these insects aggressively defend their nests, although they have not developed a sting targeted at mammals like the honey bees.

The first step in treatment following a bee sting is removal of the sting itself. The sting should be removed as fast as possible without regard to method: studies have shown the amount of venom delivered does not differ if the sting is pinched or scraped off and even a delay of a few seconds leads to more venom being injected.[3] Once the sting is removed, pain and swelling should be reduced with a cold compress.[4]

The bee's sting evolved originally for inter-bee combat between members of different hives, and the barbs evolved later as an anti-mammal defense: a barbed sting can still penetrate the chitinous plates of another bee's exoskeleton and retract safely. Honey bees are the only Hymenoptera with a strongly barbed sting, though yellowjackets and some other wasps have small barbs.

blog it

No comments: