|Bee Stings / Safety|
1 - Stung by a bee
2 - Attacked by a group of honey bees
3 - Avoiding a stinging incident
4 - Bee proofing your property
5 - Outdoor recreation safety tips
6 - Protecting pets and livestock
7 - Bees at your swimming pool
8 - Why do bees sting?
What do I do?
If you are stung by a honey bee, one of the most important things to do is not to panic. Panic by the person stung or those around him/her can produce a systemic reaction in itself. Many people believethey are allergic to honey bees when in fact they are experiencing symptoms of a normal reaction. Only a very limited portion of the population (one or two out of 1000) is allergic or hypersensitive to bee or wasp stings. The average person can safely tolerate 10 stings per pound of body weight. This means that although 500 stings could kill a child, the average adult could withstand more than 1100 stings. Most deaths caused by multiple stings have occured in elderly individuals who may have had poor cardiopulmonary functioning.
If stung by a honey bee, the first thing you should do is remove the stinger. The end of a sting is barbed and will remain stuck in the skin even if the bee is removed. Muscles in the stinger allow it to continue pumping venom into the victim, even if it is no longer connected to the bee, for up to a minute or until the stinger is removed. The sooner the stinger is removed, the less venom will enter the wound. Honey bees are able to sting only once and eventually die after they have released their stinger.
Two kinds of reactions are usually associated with bee stings and those of other stinging insects as well: (1) local or (2) systemic, allergic, or life-threatening.
(1) Local Reactions:
(2) Systemic, Allergic, or Life-Threatening Reactions:
If you experience any of these symptoms, seek emergency medical assistance immediately. Symptoms can begin immediately following the sting or up to 30 minutes later and might last for hours. Anaphylaxis, or the inability to breathe, may occur within seconds or minutes of a sting.
Anaphylaxis, if treated in time, usually can be reversed by epinephrine (adrenaline) injected into the body. Individuals who are aware that they are allergic to stings should carry epinephrine in either a normal syringe (sting kit) or an auto-injector (Epi-Pen) whenever they think they might encounter stinging insects. Epinephrine is obtainable only by prescription from a physician.
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