Self Care Center

Health Center
LoGrasso Hall
SUNY Fredonia
Fredonia, NY 14063
(716) 673-3131 or
(716) 673-3132
(716) 673-4722 (fax)

How to Treat a Bee Sting

Bee stings are either annoyingly painful or deadly, depending on if the victim is allergic to the venom.

What To Do..........

- Remove any stingers immediately. No need to scrape off bee stingers, just remove them. It's OK to pull stingers out with your fingers. The longer bee stingers are allowed to remain in the body, the more severe the reaction will be.

- If the victim is allergic to bees, check to see if the victim is carrying an epinephrine auto-injector or EpiPen. If so, help the victim use the device as directed. If the victim is supposed to carry one of these devices and does not have it, call 911 immediately! Do not wait for symptoms to appear.

- Non-allergic victims almost always develop local reactions to bee stings. Redness, swelling, and pain are common at the site of the bee sting. The pain will usually go away quickly, but the swelling may last for more than a day. Use an ice pack to reduce swelling at the site.

- It is common to develop some itching at the bee sting site. Antihistamines such as benadryl or calamine lotion should help.

- Ibuprofen or Tylenol can be used for minor pain relief.

- Take the victim to the Emergency Department if they have been stung more then ten times, or if there is bee stings inside the nose, mouth , or throat. Swelling from these stings can cause shortness of breath, even in non-allergic victims.


Page modified 9/24/08