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'Bee' Safe Out There

By Donna Stark

It can happen faster than the blink of an eye. One minute you could be strolling through your backyard enjoying the fresh, cool grass on your bare feet, and the next minute you could be rolling on the ground, grasping your foot in extreme pain. What happened? I'll tell you what happened. The bee that's been hopping from flower to flower decided it was time to attack your innocent foot! But what should you do now? Well, since it's the time of year for bee stings, you may want to brush up on your knowledge of how to treat them. Take a look.

Get to Safety

The first thing you should do after getting stung by a bee, wasp, or hornet, is to make sure you are in a safe place to assess the sting. This means you may have to move somewhere else.  Pull over if the bee stung you in your car, hop out of the pool if the bee got you while swimming, or turn off your riding lawn mower if the sting occurred during yard work. You certainly don't want to become injured in other ways or attacked again because your attention is focused on the sting.   

Get the Stinger Out!

After you are in a safe and clear spot, the next step to take is to get the stinger out of your body because the longer it stays in your skin, the more pain and swelling you may experience. But how do you do that? Here are some simple steps to follow.

  • Stay calm and focused
  • Pull your skin flat and taut
  • Scrape over the stinger with your fingernail or a credit card
  • Resist the urge to use tweezers (squeezing can cause more venom to be released)
  • Wash the affected area with soap and water
  • Apply a cold pack to reduce swelling
  • Consider taking over-the-counter pain medication or antihistamine

Seek Additional Help if Needed

Although most bee stings are generally easy to deal with after the initial pain, it's always a good idea to keep an eye out for other symptoms. Bee, wasp, and hornet stings have been known to trigger allergic responses in some people, and sometimes, those reactions can be life-threatening! Because of this, you must know exactly what to look for. Here are a few of the most common red flags.

  • Hives
  • Throat, face, or lip swelling
  • Headache, dizziness, or fainting
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Difficulty breathing or swallowing
  • Weak or rapid heart rate
  • Loss of consciousness

Staying Sting-Free

Part of staying venom-free during the warmer months of the year is learning how to avoid all the creatures that sting, so stay smart, stay alert, and for Pete's sake, stay far, far away from the areas they congregate!

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Southern Pines, N.C.

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