Bee, hornet, and wasp stings.

A bee sting is when a bee, hornet, or wasp generally speaking, lands on skin, pushing its stinger into the dermis causing a painful stinging sensation… and it hurts! Most of the time when bees sting it is in defense. For some people or animals a bee sting causes a different reaction then a wasp sting, and this is because they have different forms of venom. Most of the time bee and wasp stings are not serious except for that they can be uncomfortable for a few hours with the stinging and itching.

There are lots of remedies out there to take away the pain or help it subside for this. The only real danger in bee stings and is an issue when one is allergic to the insect. A dangerous reaction may happen when someone has never been stung before or if they have never had any type of allergy testing and don’t know about their allergy and what do in this scenario. An allergic reaction to a bee sting can cause what’s called anaphylaxis and it’s potentially deadly. Anyone experiencing an allergic reaction is susceptible to anaphylaxis whether the allergy is from a bee sting, food allergy, or medication allergy.

As for animals, it is smart to talk to the pet’s veterinarian about if they have sensitive skin or if there is suspicion of  allergies. Most dog groomers, one we know in particular at told us that most groomers are pretty knowledgeable in the case of stings as they see tick bites, and stings on a regular basis, and know which dogs breeds are known to have more allergies.  Lots of dogs, particularly over other animals get stung in the mouth because they explore their surrounding by licking and eating things that they shouldn’t!

For humans that have been identified as allergic to bee stings they are usually given an epi pen from their doctor to keep with them at all times. The epi pen has medication in it that is to be injected into the muscle immediately in the case that they are stung to avoid a reaction. If  one has sensitive skin,  eczema, psoriasis, or get rashes, it may be smart to ask a doctor for allergy testing to avoid the possibility of a reaction to a sting.

Farm animals get stung regularly too so anyone who owns horses, goats, etc should have a vet check out the animal’s skin and be aware of their allergies as well.  The list of remedies for stings is extensive for those who are not actually allergic to bees and wasps. It includes over the counter medication including benadryl and tylenol to home remedies using baking soda and vinegar to the newly popular essential oils like lavender to calm the skin. All can be used and most of these remedies are successful it’s just a matter of choice.

Those who choose an over the counter remedy for a sting can start by taking either a tylenol or ibuprofen type medication for the pain. For the redness or itchiness a calamine lotion can be applied and an antihistamine can also be taken to calm the area. There are a lot of bite and sting treatments that can be purchased over the counter as well, but they essentially do the same thing as what the medications described above will do.

As far as home remedies go there are a few things one may have in their house that will suffice to calm a sting as well. As mentioned above, baking soda and water can be made into a paste and applied to the site to calm the sting. Most have baking soda in house so that is a go to option. Another quick go to is ice, although after ice is removed, like a burn, one may have to go through some discomfort before pain really subsides. Toothpaste is a similar option to the baking soda and will work in the same way to bring down the swelling and help the itch. For those who have essential oils on hand, lavender is a popular choice to calm stings, bites and mild allergic reactions. Chamomile is another oil known to be calming and can be used. Basil is has anti inflamatory properties, and also eucalyptus is good for preventing infections for the sting site.

Animals or pets should be seen by a vet, however it is perfectly fine to go with any of the home remedies on their skin as well. Also many vets suggest over the counter benadryl, but again see a vet before considering that option.

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