What Happens If You Leave a Bee Stinger In?

Reviewed on 3/23/2021

Bee Sting
The swelling spreads beyond the sting site or if it involves the face or neck is a medical emergency.

A bee stinger must be removed on priority because it can cause serious consequences if it is not removed promptly. This is because the stinger releases venom. Hence, the longer it is left in the skin, the more venom will be released leading to exaggerated pain, swelling, and other symptoms.

What to do if someone is stung by a bee?

If someone has been stung by a bee you may follow these dermatologists’ recommended tips:

  • Do not panic: Generally, a bee sting is coupled with a dramatic scene because it occurs suddenly causing a lot of screaming in pain. Since most bees and wasps can sting multiple times, you must calmly walk away from the area without upsetting them further. This will prevent any additional attacks.
  • Remove the stinger: The stinger must be carefully removed on priority if it is left in the skin. The stinger may look like a tiny black dot or a small thorn in your skin. You can remove it by scraping the skin with a fingernail, a piece of gauze, a credit card, or a blunt butter knife. Do not squeeze the area and avoid using tweezers as these can release more venom into the skin.
  • Wash the area with soap and water: Washing the sting with soap and water helps wash away the dirt and reduces infection risk.
  • Apply cold packs: This helps reduce the swelling and pain at the site of the sting.
  • Take over the counter pain medications if needed: Over the counter pain medications, such as Ibuprofen and Acetaminophen, can help reduce pain and swelling. Take the medications as per label instructions or as advised by a doctor.

You must consider seeking immediate medical attention if:

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Seattle Children’s Hospital. Bee or Yellow Jacket Sting. https://www.seattlechildrens.org/conditions/a-z/bee-or-yellow-jacket-sting/

American Academy of Dermatology. How to Treat a Bee Sting. https://www.aad.org/public/everydayyou-care/injured-skin/bites/treat-bee-sting

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