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Cedars-Sinai Blog

How to Treat a Bee Sting

How do I know if I'm allergic?

For those who have never been stung before, this is often the first question. The bump and redness at the site of the sting is inflammation usually caused by a local allergic reaction.

systemic reaction, or anaphylaxis, is when people experience dizziness, faintness, or swelling of their airway that can lead to an asthma-like, respiratory response to the venom. They may also get hives at locations other than the sting site or have a precipitous drop in blood pressure that causes them to pass out. These more serious allergic reactions call for use of an EpiPen, followed by immediate medical attention.

For those who know they're allergic, Dr. Richard M. Harris, an allergist-immunologist at Cedars-Sinai, recommends carrying the epinephrine pen dual pack. "There are several generics to EpiPen, and there are coupons online to cover the copays. But always carry two. Sometimes you need a second one in 15 to 20 minutes."

And if you're severely allergic, see an allergist for testing, as venom shot treatment courses are up to 90% protective.

Ok, I'm not allergic, but it still hurts. Now what?

Ice is the most reliable item around the house for treating stings.

Skip the sting