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Bee and Wasp Stings (cont.)

Bee and Wasp Stings Symptoms

The severity of a sting is determined by a number of factors. The type of insect, the location of the sting, the number of stings, and the allergic sensitivity of the victim can all affect the outcome. Most people do not have allergic reactions to bee and wasp stings.

Medical problems from bee and wasp stings are broadly broken down into two categories:

  • Local reactions (only the part of the body near the sting is affected)

    • Immediate pain, redness, swelling, and itching at the sting site may occur.

    • A large (greater than four inches across) local reaction may develop over the next 12-36 hours.

    • A bacterial skin infection, although uncommon, may also begin during the first 12-36 hours (or even after the first few days).

    • These may cause an enlarging area of redness at the sting site. It may be difficult to tell a local skin reaction and a local bacterial skin infection apart.

  • Systemic or allergic reactions (parts of the body away from the sting are affected)

    • Hives (raised itchy bumps on the skin) and itching all over the body

    • Swelling of the mouth or throat or both

    • Wheezing

    • Shortness of breath or other difficulty breathing

    • Nausea

    • Vomiting

    • Anxiety

    • Chest pain

    • Low blood pressure (weakness or fainting)

  • In severe cases, marked difficulty breathing, unconsciousness, and even death may occur.
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Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Bee and Hymenoptera Stings »

Hymenoptera stings account for more deaths in the United States than any other envenomation.

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