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BEE STINGS

If the constant buzzing of bees in and around your house isn’t annoying enough, you also face the possible danger of being stung. The sting of a bee is quite painful and can cause swelling, itching and redness. Bees don’t usually sting unless they are threatened or provoked. They are harmless creatures, and only attack when they are stepped on or roughly handled. After initial pain, the sting causes no more problems and can be treated with regular first aid at home.

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN A BEE STINGS?

When a bee stings you, it causes a sharp pain or sensation in the body. The major chemical responsible for causing such sharp pain is Melitten which stimulates the nerve endings of pain receptors in the skin. Because its sting is barbed, when a honey bee stings you the stinger usually remains inside the skin. It is very important that the stinger is removed from the skin as soon as possible because if it is not removed immediately, the venom continues to spread.

. The severity of the sting is significantly reduced if it removed within 20 seconds of the sting. If the sting is not immediately removed, it can cause swelling and persistent irritation. Antihistamines help in reducing and preventing any more irritation and bring down the swelling. The wound should be washed and can also be treated by cold compresses or aerosols. However, if swelling occurs in such areas such as mouth and neck, it requires immediate medical attention.

Bee Stings are usually harmless as long as you are not allergic to them. Allergy to bee stings causes a condition known as Anaphylaxin. It is characterised by symptoms like nausea, vomiting, cramps and headaches. This condition can be treated by injecting Epinephrine into the body. As a general rule, single stings are usually harmless and don’t pose any major health risk. Multiple stings are however very dangerous and can cause life threatening conditions such as Mass Envenomation and Renal Insufficiency.

HOW TO AVOID STINGS?

Even though most stings can be treated fairly easily, it is always better to prevent stings in the first place to eliminate any risk that might arise out from it. Bee Stings can be avoided in the following ways:

  • Avoid use of perfume, cologne, or scented soaps if you’re going to an area that is infested by bees.

  • Avoid walking barefoot in vegetation.

  • When visiting a bee infested area, avoid wearing brightly coloured clothes or clothing with patterns.

  • If a bee lands on you, remain calm and don’t agitate the bee. The best way to remove it is to slowly brush it away with a piece of paper.

  • Before going for swimming in pools check the surface of the pool for any bees and get it cleaned.

  • Wear fully covered clothing while visiting bee infested areas.

Bees are a very important part of the eco-system as they are the best pollinators and thus contribute heavily to agriculture. In addition, they produce honey which has innumerable medicinal and commercial uses. However, bees when provoked can sting causing pain and inconvenience. It is therefore advisable, that adequate precaution needs to be taken while handling bees and treating bee stings.

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