Medical Definition of Bee sting

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Reviewed on 12/4/2018

Bee sting: An area of skin affected by piercing from the stinger of a bee. A bee sting can trigger an allergic reaction, including life-threatening anaphylactic shock. Avoidance and prompt treatment are essential for those who are allergic to bee stings. Self-injectible adrenaline can be carried by persons known to be allergic when in risk areas. Hikers should wear long pants and shirts in risk areas. If a person is attacked, he or she should run for shelter, covering the face to prevent airway stings. Treatment depends on the severity of symptoms. Stingers should be removed promptly, and the area should be cleansed with soap and water. Ice packs, pain medications, and anti-itching medications can be helpful in treating local reactions. Victims with more serious symptoms can require intravenous fluids, oxygen, cortisone medicine, or epinephrine, as well as medications to open the breathing passages. In selected cases, allergy injection therapy is highly effective for prevention. For those who are not allergic, stings are a minor nuisance unless they occur in multiples.

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Reviewed on 12/4/2018