Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

Overview Incidence Symptoms allergic reaction Evaluation Treatment severe allergy Home Care itching pain in adults pain in children warning signs Underlying Cause

Bee Sting Overview

What is a bee sting?
A person with a bee sting has an injury to the skin caused by a bee. The skin usually contains venom from the bee. Bees, wasps, hornets, and fire ants are the most common causes of venomous insect bites in the US. These insects are members of the family, Hymenoptera. These insects share similar venom that can cause severe allergic reactions, called anaphylaxis.

What are the symptoms of a bee sting?
Common symptoms of a bee sting include localized burning pain and itching. Skin redness and swelling around the sting site are common. Bee stings to the face may cause more marked swelling to the eyes and lips. Other symptoms will develop within 30 minutes if the victim has an allergy to bee stings.

How does the doctor treat a bee sting?
General care for a bee sting includes removing the stinger from the skin, skin cleansing, cold compresses, oral antihistamines, topical corticosteroids, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications for pain.

Continue to Bee Sting Incidence

Last Updated: Dec 2, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Bee Sting References
  1. Golden DB, Kagey-Sobotka A, Norman PS, Hamilton RG, Lichtenstein LM. Outcomes of allergy to insect stings in children, with and without venom immunotherapy. N Engl J Med. 2004 Aug 12;351(7):668-74. [15306668]
  2. Graft DF. Managing insect sting allergy. The ins and outs of venom immunotherapy. Postgrad Med. 2005 Jul;118(1):38-42. [16106918]
  3. Moffitt JE. Allergic reactions to insect stings and bites. South Med J. 2003 Nov;96(11):1073-9. [14632354]
  4. Steen CJ, Janniger CK, Schutzer SE, Schwartz RA. Insect sting reactions to bees, wasps, and ants. Int J Dermatol. 2005 Feb;44(2):91-4. [15689203]
  5. Stibich AS, Carbonaro PA, Schwartz RA. Insect bite reactions: an update. Dermatology. 2001;202(3):193-7. [11385222]
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