Bee and Wasp Sting - Medical Help

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When should I call a doctor about a bee or wasp sting?

Most bee and wasp stings can be treated at home, but some require medical attention. If there is any suspicion at all that a person is having a systemic allergic reaction, seek immediate emergency medical assistance. Signs that a person may be having a systemic reaction include widespread hives or rash, wheezing, difficulty breathing, and swelling in the mouth and throat areas. If a person is stung by an insect whose sting has previously caused an anaphylactic reaction, he or she should also access emergency medical care even if no symptoms are present.

You should also seek medical care if any of the following conditions are present:

  • If you have received multiple stings
  • If the sting is located in the eye or eye area
  • If symptoms of infection (pus, drainage, fever, increasing pain and redness) develop
  • If the initial symptoms worsen or persist for longer than 24 to 48 hours
  • If a sting produces severe symptoms in young children, the elderly, or those with chronic medical problems
Return to Bee and Wasp Sting

See what others are saying

Comment from: tbradford01, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: June 29

I was stung by a small insect like bee. It left no stinger and I used home remedies to treat it including ice to prevent swelling. Two days later it swelled and there is a red scaly patch and it itches like crazy but burns when I scratch it. I wonder if this is an allergic reaction.

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Comment from: Deborah, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: November 24

I am here in Florida and got stung by something that I had never seen. It looked like a wasp or fly and was large. It was quite painful, so I iced it and tried to sleep. It was getting even more swollen and painful, and the next morning I couldn't walk very well. I went to the hospital and they told me I had an allergic reaction and had cellulitis. I'm on Keflex and doing a baking soda and water paste for the itching and it's helping. They gave me a prescription for, an EpiPen and said many people have severe reactions to stings and it's not to be taken lightly. Apparently cellulitis can be fatal, so go to the hospital immediately when you have swelling and pain.

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