Bee and Wasp Sting (cont.)
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
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.
In this Article
- Insect stings overview
- What are the types of wasps?
- What are the types of bees?
- What are causes of bee and wasp stings?
- What are the symptoms of a bee or wasp sting?
- When should I call a doctor about a bee or wasp sting?
- How is a bee or wasp sting diagnosed?
- What is the treatment for a bee or wasp sting?
- What are the complications of a bee or wasp sting?
- How can I prevent a bee or wasp sting?
- Bee and Wasp Sting At A Glance
When should I call a doctor about a bee or wasp sting?
Most bee and wasp stings can be treated at home, but some cases require medical attention. If there is any suspicion at all that a person is having a systemic allergic reaction, seek immediate emergency medical assistance. Signs that a person may be having a systemic reaction include widespread hives or rash, wheezing, difficulty breathing, and swelling in the mouth and throat areas. If a person is stung by an insect whose sting has previously caused an anaphylactic reaction, he or she should also access emergency medical care even if no symptoms are present.
You should also seek medical care if any of the following conditions are present:
- If you have received multiple stings
- If the sting is located in the eye or eye area
- If symptoms of infection (pus, drainage, fever,
increasing pain and redness) develop
- If the initial symptoms worsen or persist for longer
than 24-48 hours
- If a sting produces severe symptoms in young children, the elderly, or those with chronic medical problems
How is a bee or wasp sting diagnosed?
In most cases the victim or an observer will have witnessed the sting. Depending upon the type of insect, the stinging apparatus may be found embedded in the skin, but this is not the case with wasps and some types of bees. The characteristic symptoms for each type of reaction along with the history of a sting are typically sufficient to establish a diagnosis.
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