Wasp & Bee Stings
By Lori Hanson, RN, BC
Bees and wasps are out in large numbers this fall. Luckily, being stung is a minor nuisance for most people, although it can be painful. It's normal to have a local reaction to the affected area �� redness, swelling, itching and pain. For such a reaction, you can take an antihistamine and apply an ice pack or a cold compress for 20 minutes every hour. Wash the sting site with soap and water and take over-the-counter pain relievers/inflammation reducers as needed. If you can see the stinger, remove it with a clean fingernail or by scraping across the skin with the edge of a credit card. Try not to rub or scratch the site.
For an unfortunate few, stings can lead to a serious, systemic reaction �� hives, wheezing, shortness of breath, rapid heartbeat, faintness, and/or swelling of the mouth and throat. These individuals need immediate medical care -- dial 911 and take an over-the-counter antihistamine.
Here are some tips to help you protect yourself from stings:
*Steer clear of known areas of insect concentration
*Refrain from swatting at insects
*Avoid consuming sugary drinks and foods outdoors.
*Do not wear bright colored clothing or strong fragrances.
Hopefully this will help keep you sting free. If you have any questions or concerns, contact Student Health at 777-4500.
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