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Bee and Wasp Stings (cont.)

Self-Care at Home

  • Most simple insect stings in a nonallergic person require no more than first aid at home.

  • Avoid further stings by wearing protective clothing, using insect repellant, and avoiding infested areas.

  • Remove any stingers remaining in the skin (most likely from bees) immediately. Some experts recommend scraping out the stinger with a credit card. However, it is probably more important to get the stinger out as quickly as possible than to be overly concerned about how it is removed.

  • Application of ice to the sting site may provide some mild relief. Ice may be applied for 20 minutes once every hour as needed. Cloth should be placed between the ice and skin to avoid freezing the skin.

  • Consider taking an antihistamine such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl) for itching.

  • Consider taking ibuprofen (Motrin) or acetaminophen (Tylenol) for pain relief as needed.

  • Wash the sting site with soap and water. Place an antibiotic ointment on the sting site.

  • If it has been more than 10 years since your last tetanus booster immunization, get a booster within the next few days.

  • Most insect stings require no additional medical care. More serious reactions may need immediate medical care.

  • If you have been stung by a bee or wasp and have previously had a serious allergic reaction, seek medical attention. Consider taking an antihistamine such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl) as soon as possible. If any allergic symptoms develop, consider using the epinephrine part of an emergency allergy kit (EpiPen) if previously prescribed by a doctor.
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