Bee and Wasp Stings

First Aid for Bee & Wasp Stings.

Bee & Wasp Sting – ouch!

Every year it happens at least once: my child runs across the meadow without shoes and plays. Suddenly there is a loud scream and he sits in the grass and cries. Then I know immediately: another stitch. Oh dear.....

How do I know whether it was a bee or a wasp?
With a bee sting, the stinger is usually still in the skin. With a wasp sting, you only see the sting site.

The pain at the sting site comes immediately after the sting, it is reddened and can swell slightly. Only after some time does it start to itch.

First Steps

  1. calm the child and remove the possible stinger. The stinger of a bee that remains after a sting carries a small blister filled with poison at the rear end. The stinger must not be pulled out with the fingers, as this would force venom from the venom blister into the sting wound. It is best to use tweezers or tick forceps. Long fingernails can also help. If you don't have all this, one trick is to "flick" the stinger out. This avoids pressing it in.
  2. cooling comes next. A damp flannel, a cold pack (be careful not to put it directly on the skin), a cold drink bottle. Whatever is there should be used. The cold causes the blood vessels to contract. This counteracts swelling. There are also immediate cold compresses on a chemical basis as disposable items. I always have these with me, for example.
  3. My top tip is definitely onions. Onions contain sulphur, which has an anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and disinfectant effect. In addition, the onion juice cools and soothes the itch. Even though the effect of onions has not been scientifically proven, I always carry a small plastic container with half a sliced onion with me on excursions.
  4. Then, of course, there are ointments such as Fenstil (German pharmacy), which reduce itching and swelling. An ointment can be applied after the first immediate measures.

Besides these measures, there are some good tips on alternative first aid methods.

  1. A few years ago I bought the Bite Away. It is a pen-like device that generates heat up to 122 °Fahrenheit with the help of a gold-plated brass plate (about the size of a pencil diameter). The heat, which is precisely controlled by a microchip, is such that on the one hand the venom of wasps and bees (and also other insects) is partially decomposed and on the other hand burning is avoided. You can choose a duration of 3 or 6 seconds, the temperature remains the same. If this tool is used, there is hardly any reaction. (By the way, this is also great for mosquito bites). The Bite Away is available online and in pharmacies.
  2. There are also homeopathic remedies that reduce the reaction to a bite.
    One: Apis mellifica for especially bee stings but you can also try with a wasp sting.
    The effect of Apis comes on quickly. The globuli are placed on the tongue and can reduce the pain and also prevent swelling. Dosage: Take 1 dose (3 globuli) of Apis C30 immediately after the sting. Repeating the administration is usually not necessary. Only in the case of stings in the mouth and throat can the dose be repeated every five minutes.
    Then there is Ledum. It helps with  very itchy insect bites, e.g. mosquito bites.
    A reddish, but only slightly swollen bite area is typical.
    Dosage: 3 times 5 globuli at intervals of half an hour to one hour, then as needed.

But what if you have an allergy?

Many people are very afraid of allergic reactions. Here it must be said that an allergic reaction never occurs at the 1st sting. Only after the second sting can the body react with an allergy. Children who are known to have an allergy have usually been prescribed anti-allergic drops by their paediatrician. You should always have these with you.

How can I tell that my child has a possible allergic reaction?

The injection site swells up a lot and large, itchy wheals can form. The child may also vomit, have circulation problems and develop shortness of breath.

If this happens, it is best to proceed as follows:

  1. remove the stinger (if bee).
  2. apply emergency medication (if available), cooling (parallel to the call)
  3. call 112 : emergency doctor
  4. put the child in a sitting position (in case of breathing difficulties) and in a stable side position in case of circulation problems, remove tight clothes
  5. if the child has no signs of life: Resuscitate until the emergency doctor arrives

As always, it is better to dial 112 once too often than once too little. In the case of an allergic reaction, you have to act quickly and cannot wait.

A wasp or bee sting in the mouth area is particularly dangerous because the mucous membranes can swell up quickly. There is a danger of suffocation. Therefore, the emergency services must be called quickly.

If a child is stung in the mouth, antihistamines (e.g. Fenestil) can be given as drops. Antihistamines have a decongestant effect and can stop the swelling. However, you should still call an emergency doctor. Cooling also helps with stings in the mouth (e.g. with ice cubes or ice cream).

What can you do to prevent stings in the first place?

  • You should not eat near rubbish bins and always cover drinks outside.
  • Children should always look to see if there is a wasp on the glass before drinking. Especially if the glass or bottle is dark, it is often difficult to see. Thin straws can help here.
  • Bees like to forage on flowers and clover in the meadow and are hardly interested in cakes and jam. Stings often happen by stepping into them unnoticed. Wasps, however, are attracted to meat and especially to anything sweet (e.g. ripe fruit).
  • You should explain to your little ones as early as possible that it is best not to strike and irritate wasps and bees. Most of the time they fly away on their own.


Juli 2021 - Gravidamiga 
This blog post has been prepared with the greatest possible care and does not claim to be correct, complete or up-to-date.“ This is not a medical post and  it does NOT substitute a visit to a doctor.

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Updated: July 2021