Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Treating Bee Stings

My son: "Momma, how does a bee sting you?"

Me: "With the needle on its tail."

My son: ((Pause))"What kinds of things do bees sew?"
Me: "What do you mean?"

My son:"With their needles. What do they sew?"
Me:"It's a different kind of needle honey, but that's a good question."

Here is a story we ran on WHOI about Bee stings:
As the summer heat rises, so do the number of insects and your chances of getting stung.
Bill Mondjack keeps honey bees - one of the most common stinging insects there is. Mondjack said, "When I first started back in 1980, I used to get stung on my ankles or on my hands and my hands would swell up, like the skin would be all stretched out and swollen up, my ankles would swell up."


It may not sound like it, but he's lucky. some people are allergic to the bee venom and have more serious reactions, like trouble breathing. Dr. Rob Danoff said, "Within 5, 10 minutes you may start to notice that you're starting to get real tight. Maybe you're coughing a little bit. You're starting to notice a little bit of wheezing."

That can be life-threatening and needs quick medical attention. But it's not the only emergency situation. Danoff said, "If you are bitten or stung in your mouth, on your lip, on top, you know, inside your mouth or on your eye, you definitely want to go to the emergency room because those reactions can progress quickly."

Fortunately, for most of us, stings from bees, wasps, hornets and yellow jackets don't cause serious problems. Dr. Danoff said, "It can hurt. It can sting, but just local care is usually what we do."

Mondjack said, "A honey bee stinger, if it's left behind, the first thing you want to do is scrape the stinger out with your fingernail and get rid of it so it stops pumping venom into the site."
Then wash the area and apply a cold compress for pain. If you get stung on a hand or foot:
Danoff said, "First thing to do is remove any rings right away cause your hand's gonna' swell and we can't get those rings off and it can cause some circulation problems." See a doctor if you develop an infection or you're not up to date on your tetanus shots. believe it or not, insects can transfer bacteria from the soil to your skin.

Danoff said, "What they can do is they can get this bacteria on their stinger and if they sting you, they inject it into you." Prevention is key. Avoid wearing colorful clothes and perfumes that attract bees. Try to stay away from areas where insects hang out. Dr. Danoff said, "hornets tend to have nests in trees and bushes. Yellow jacks in the soil, so be aware. So if you're walking around barefoot in the grass or around shrubs, maybe you oughta' put some shoes on."

You don't have to tell that to Howard Kirshner. As a landscaper, he's been stung plenty. His tip? Watch the clock. Kirshner said, "We just try to avoid it until the right time of day. We find if you can go in early in the morning or later in the day we can, you know, insects are usually less active."

Remember, insects watch out for each other, so swatting not a good idea. Dr. Danoff said, "They send off these chemicals that attract their comrades to come to help them. They think they're under attack. The best thing we can do is we see them, we try to just move away." If you don't bug them, they won't bug you.

Once a honey bee stings you, it dies. However, wasps and hornets can sting multiple times. If you're allergic, an epipen or twinject with a self-injectable medicine can improve breathing and reverse hives and swelling. You can also wear a medical bracelet to alert others of your allergy.
Have your kids ever been stung?

-NewsAnchorMom Jen
Methodist Medical Center's new online healthcare program, MyMethodist eHealth, is a proud sponsor of this blog post. MyMethodist eHealth is the secure link to your doctor's office that lets you request appointments, order prescription refills, update your personal health record, and more. Sign up for MyMethodist eHealth here.

6 comments:

Jenny said...

Cute story about your little one!!

As for the not swatting and just move away ... well they follow me so I think I will still swat. Maybe the key is not to miss!! lol

newsanchormom.com said...

Sounds like a good solution to me!

Jennifer said...

Somehow they have avoided bee and wasp stings, thankfully! We haven't been so lucky with splinters, though.
I did buy a first aid kit when my kids were little that I kept in the trunk of my car (I actually still have it), that has a pair of tweezers, band-aids, various ointments and benadryl. It really came in handy many times when we were at the park and someone got a blister or a splinter.

Anonymous said...

Some bee sting info: Bee stings can be deadly to allergic persons but, to most they are only an annoyance. Most bees inject peptides which are meant to be (and are) a painful warning to stay away from their hive. The victim should immediately use a credit card or knife to carefully scrape the stinger out of the skin (if it has been left there). Do not use tweezers or try to pinch the stinger out with your fingers as it will force additional venom into your skin. Most bee stings began to itch after the pain subsides. DO NOT SCRATCH as this can lead to secondary infections, possible scarring and also open portals to some very nasty bacteria (MRSA aka flesh eating bacteria). My advice is to use a product called Mitigator Sting & Bite Scrub – I did some of the original research on the product while looking for controls for the red imported fire ant and I can attest that it actually removes the toxins or venom. It has baking soda, papain (the active ingredient in meat tenderizer) - to absorb toxins and walnut shell granules to open the pores. Scrubbing with your fingertips substitutes for scratching with your fingernails and since it has no harsh chemicals or foul odors it can be used with children and reapplied as often as needed. The product works great on mosquitoes, fire ants (stops the blistering), ticks and chiggers. It was only sold to the military until recently. You can now find it in stores or on the web at: www.biteaid.com or at: www.mitigator.net.

newsanchormom.com said...

I just got a letter, yes a handwritten letter, from someone who wanted to tell me they baking soda with a little bit of water will give you instant relief from a bee sting or a sting by other insects like spiders. I have heard that before, but I wasn't aware of anyone who had used that method.

Bee Sting Cure said...

With the beginning of summer comes the blooming of trees, gardens and
flowers, which in turn attracts bees and wasps of all kinds. But that is not
the end of the worry of a sting. Many stings take place during the fall
months. Reason being, bees and wasps are cold blooded insects and they linger
around people and pets in order to absorb the body heat, therefore increasing
the chances of getting stung for both.
Last week, I witnessed a 4 year old girl with her hand and forearm swollen
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