How to handle a bee sting

Bees make cute cartoon characters, but if you step on one – it hurts! What do you do?

How does a bee sting?

When bees sting they release a chemical called melittin into their victim. This venom immediately triggers your pain receptors and causes that burning sensation. Because a bee’s stinger is like a jagged sword, when it penetrates your skin it dislodges from the bee, remaining there – so take a minute to spare a thought for the poor bee too.

Treat a bee sting

The first step is to get that stinger out – and quickly. It continues to pump venom for a few seconds, so the quicker you can get it out the better!

Conventional wisdom says to scrape bee stingers away from the skin because pinching the venom sack may push extra venom into the victim. But how fast you get the stinger out is much more important than how you get it out. It’s best to use your fingernail, but you can use tweezers or pinch it between your fingers – whichever is closest and quickest.

The next step is to apply something cool and some antihistamine cream to the scene of the sting, to soothe the area.

You will know if your toddler has a bee sting allergy within a few minutes of a sting. The key sign is difficulty breathing. That’s when it’s time to throw everyone into the car and head straight to the doctor!

Read  Luis Suarez – Why are human bites dangerous?