Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
If you have a single sting with no allergic symptoms, you may require only local wound care (such as
cleaning and antibiotic ointment). Any retained stingers will be removed.
Itching may be treated with an oral antihistamine such as diphenhydramine
(Benadryl). Pain may be treated with medicine such as ibuprofen (Motrin),
acetaminophen (Tylenol), or both. Also tetanus immunization will be given as
If you have mild allergic symptoms (such as a rash and itching all over the body but no problems breathing or with your vital signs), you may be treated with an antihistamine. You may also be given steroids. In some cases, you may also be given an epinephrine (adrenaline)
injection. Some of these treatments may be given at the scene or in the
ambulance by emergency medics. You may be sent home if you are doing well
after observation in the emergency department.
If you have a more moderate allergic reaction (such as rash all over the body, and some mild problems breathing), you will likely receive injections of antihistamines,
steroids, and epinephrine. Some of these treatments may be given at the scene
or in the ambulance by emergency medics. You will likely need to be observed
for a prolonged period of time in the emergency department. You may need to be
admitted in the hospital.
If you have a severe allergic reaction (such as low
blood pressure, swelling blocking air getting into the lungs, and/or other
serious problems breathing), you have a true life-threatening emergency.
Treatment may include placement of a breathing tube into your trachea. You
will likely be given injections of antihistamines, steroids, and epinephrine.
IV fluids may also be given. Some of these treatments may be given at the
scene or in the ambulance by emergency medics. You will be closely monitored
in the emergency department and likely admitted into the hospital-perhaps the
intensive care unit.
If you have multiple stings (more than at least 10-20
stings) but no evidence of an allergic type reaction, you sometimes may
require prolonged observation in the emergency department or admission into
the hospital. Multiple blood tests may be indicated.
If you are stung inside the mouth or throat, you may
simply require observation in the emergency department, or you may need more
intensive management if complications develop.
If you are stung on the eyeball, you may require
consultation or evaluation by an ophthalmologist (an eye doctor).