PARENT CARE: BEE OR YELLOW JACKET STING
The child was stung by a honeybee, bumblebee,
hornet, paper wasp. or yellow jacket. Over 95 percent of stings are from
honey bees or yellow jackets.
The sting involves injecting venom into the human from the bee's
The main symptoms are pain, swelling and redness at the sting
A severe allergic reaction is called anaphylaxis
See More Appropriate Topic(instead of this one) If
Not a bee, wasp or yellow jacket sting,
see INSECT BITE
WHEN TO CALL YOUR DOCTOR FOR BEE OF YELLOW JACKET STING
Call 911 Now (your child may need an ambulance)
(for symptom of anaphalxis) If
Wheezing or difficulty breathing
Hoarseness, cough or tightness in the throat or chest
Difficulty swallowing or slurred speech
Thinking or speech is confused
Passed out or very weak
Previous severe allergic reaction to bees, yellow jackets, etc.
(not just hives or swelling)
(Note: anaphylaxis usually starts within 20 minutes, and
always by 2 hours following a sting.)
First Aid Advice for Anaphylaxis
Give epinephrine injection if you have
an anaphylactic kit
Inject it into the muscle of the upper outer thigh
Call Your Doctor Now (night or day) If:
Call Your Doctor Within 24 Hours (between 9am
and 4pm) If:
- You think
your child needs to be seen.
Sting looks infected (red streaking from the sting area, yellow
(Note: infection and cellulitis don't start until at least 24-48 hours after
the sting. Any redness in the first 24 hours is due to venom)
Swelling is huge (e.g., spreads beyond wrist or ankle)
Call Your Doctor During Weekday Office Hours If
You have other questions or concerns
Parent Care at Home If:
Normal bee sting and you don't think
your child needs to be seen
HOME CARE ADVICE FOR BEE STING
- Try to Remove the
Stinger (if present):
Use a fingernail, credit card edge or knife edge to scrape it off. Don't pull
it off. (Reason: squeezes out more venom). If the stinger is below the skin
surface, leave it alone. It will be shed with normal skin healing.
Meat Tenderizer: Apply a meat tenderizer-water solution on a cotton
ball for 20 minutes (EXCEPTION: near the eye). This neutralizes
the venom and decreases pain and swelling. If not available, apply aluminum-based
deodorant or a baking soda solution for 20 minutes. For persistent pain,
massage with an ice cube for 10 minutes.
Pain Medicine: Give acetaminophen (e.g. Tylenol) or ibuprofen immediately
for relief of pain and burning.
Antihistamine: If the sting becomes itchy, give a dose of Benadryl.
Expected Course: Severe pain or burning at the site lasts 1 to 2 hours.
Normal swelling from venom can increase for 24 hours following the sting.
The swelling disappears after 3 to 5 days.
- Call Your Doctor If:
- Develops difficulty breathing or swallowing (mainly during the
2 hours after the sting) (call 911)
- Swelling becomes huge or
spreads beyond the wrist or ankle
- Sting begins to look infected
- Your child becomes worse or develops any of the "Call Your
Disclaimer: This information
is not intended be a substitute for professional medical advice. It is
provided for educational purposes only. You assume full responsibility
for how you choose to use this information.
Pediatric HouseCalls Online. Copyright © 2000-2004
Barton Schmitt, M.D. FAAP
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