Bee Sting Reactions

Can you describe the different kinds of reactions caused by bee stings?

Dr. Greene’s Answer:

Bee venom contains at least nine different components that work together to cause bee sting reactions in those stung. When a bee injects its venom under the skin, the child may have immediate reactions (those symptoms beginning within 4 hours), delayed reactions (symptoms that don’t appear until more than four hours after the sting), or both. Classifying the reactions is important both for immediate management and for predicting future problems (Allergy Principles and Practice, Mosby 2003).

Local vs Systemic Bee Sting Reactions

Some immediate bee sting reactions are classified as local (a two – or three-inch area of swelling, redness and pain that lasts less than 24 hours). Others qualify as large local reactions (those that are larger — often an entire limb — or that last longer, but all symptoms are adjacent to stings). Systemic reactions are allergic responses distant from the sting and include symptoms such as hives, generalized itching, generalized swelling, low blood pressure, difficulty breathing, or anaphylactic shock — a severe reaction involving most or all of these symptoms.

A sting on the forehead with swelling of the eyelids is a large local reaction, while a sting on the foot with swelling of the eyelids is a systemic reaction. Large local reactions are rarely serious and rarely portend future severe allergies. Systemic allergic reactions, though, are present and future warning signs.

Toxic Bee Sting Reactions

A fourth type of immediate reaction is the toxic reaction, which can follow multiple stings. This is a direct result of bee venom, and not an allergic reaction. Symptoms can include fever, weakness, nausea, vomiting, and pain. Toxic bee sting reactions are rarely serious, but do sometimes sensitize the child and herald future allergic reactions.

Delayed reactions result when the body’s immune system prepares for future stings, but some of the exuberant defense measures inadvertently turn against the body itself. These symptoms begin more than four hours after the initial sting. Delayed reactions include serum sickness (fever, weakness, rash, swelling, and/or intense itching which begin a week after the sting), nephrotic syndrome (inflammation of the kidney), neuritis (inflammation of the nerves), or inflammation of other parts of the body.

Dr. Alan Greene

Dr. Greene is a practicing physician, author, national and international TEDx speaker, and global health advocate. He is a graduate of Princeton University and University of California San Francisco.

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  1. Lynne

    I was stung by a hornet on the Belt Parkway. If flew into car while stuck in traffic. I immediately felt pain under arm, and then I started to break out in a horrible puscular rash extending all down my arms chest back. Probably over 100 bumps, extreme itchy and painful. Was seen in urgent care and followed up with primary and dermatologist. It’s been several weeks and the rash is just about gone. But where the hornet stung me is still very painful. The dermatogust prescribed antibiotics and explained I had an bacterial infection from hornet. I have never experienced anything so uncomfortable before. Finally starting to feel better after six weeks. What the heck kind of bugs are these! I have numbness and tingling in the arm that was bite. Will this ever go away?

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  2. Scott Bailey

    I was stung last week. I believe it was a yellow jacket. The sting occurred on my wrist bone. The pain was severe and lasted for two days. My wrist got better and I thought this was behind me until another couple days had past and wide spread itching began. For the last few days, the itching has been off and on, mostly on, moving anywhere from head to toe. I understand this can be a delayed reaction to being stung. Do you know how long this is likely to go on or what I can do to make it stop? Do I need to see an allergist? My sister is highly allergic to bee stings but has never had this type of reaction. Thanks!

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  3. Carla

    My husband (70) was mowing and ran into a swarm of bumble bees. He was stung at least 5 times on the head, shoulders and hands. He ran into the house, caught his breath, took a cool shower and a benedryl. There is really very little swelling and he said it is not painful. we went to get something to eat, returned home and he started throwing up and has diarrhea. Should we go to the er?

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  4. Finn

    I know this is for bee stings, but I got stung by a wasp over 25 days ago I’m slightly allergic and it was extremely painful for several days, it went away for weeks but today as I got changed from my school clothes to leisure wear today I accidentally brushed against it and realised it was really swollen and also very painful again. My dad (who’s fatally allergic to bees) and my mother (who also has quite bad reactions to wasps) are both very confused and so far I have found nothing about this sort of phenomenon. I put anthisan cream on it hoping it would help and I’m waiting for stuff to happen. I don’t think its very serious, its just sore and swollen almost a month after and I wondered if there would be an answer to it.

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    • Karen F

      I’m sorry for your extreme delay and increased reaction. I’m curious if you ever found an answer!?! My 5 year old was stung a month ago, site was red and raised about a week… He woke up today and said he was stung again and sure enough the EXACT site of the month-old sting is red and swollen as if he were just stung (only this time there is clearly no stinger). I cannot find anything on reactions this delayed. I might be heading to the dr :(
      Good luck to you!!!

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  5. Kristel Kokk

    Hi Dr. Greene,

    I was stung on the head (left side). After couple-few hours the side of the head went red and itchy, it came all the way down to the neck. After a week I still have had a painful lump in my neck and now I have another lump near there.
    I been diagnosed with Graves disease, does bee sting somehow be dangerous or affect me differently somehow?
    Regards,
    Kristel

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  6. Kristie

    Got stung by a red wasp yesterday around 2pm. Today, my leg is slightly swollen, itching about from sting( just below knee) to about 6 inches below. The same area also feels very warm to the touch. Should I wait it out or see a doctor?

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  7. Sparta

    Last summer while setting up for my wedding I was barefoot and walking around at night (about 11 p.m.) and I felt a severe burning on the top of my foot. My fiance was smoking a cigarette, so I thought he had accidentally flicked the cherry onto my foot; it hurt so damn bad I screamed and instinctively swiped at my foot. Then I noticed the burning cherry of the cigarette was still intact, and my fiance immediately turned on the flashlight on his phone. Next to my foot was what I assumed to be a yellow jacket. Upon inspecting my foot, it had a hole in it, like the little sh*t had taken a bite out of my skin (still have the scar). My entire foot felt like it was on fire until morning, and I couldn’t sleep because my leg would have muscle spasms every few minutes or so that would jolt my body–we elevated the foot and strapped an ice pack on it, which offered no relief. In the morning, my entire foot and ankle were swollen and I couldn’t walk on it. The swelling went away after about 7 days, but the nasty hole took months to heal.

    My question: Is this normal, or should I be concerned?

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    • Mr B

      I live in TN now and was repairing a fence and didn’t know I stepped in a nest of yellow jackets! I got stung all over my body and ran into the house and my wife gave me Benadryl. The pain was horrible all day and I couldn’t sleep all night! Two days later and I am still swollen and I have 3 holes in my biceps where I was stung! I been stung by yellow jackets in Michigan and never experienced severe pain or had holes left from being stung!

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  8. kathy

    I was stung by a swarm of bees that came out of the bush by my garage as I was walking by. I was stung several times on my feet. It is two years later and where was stung the worst was on my left foot, my last three toes. It flares up frequently being red and irritated looking and almost blister-like pustules on the underside of my toes. The itching is enough to make me crazy. Is this a reaction from the bee stings, still two years later?

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  9. yvette

    Would the delayed reactions to bee venom like neuritis be temporary? I was stung two wks ago and experienced the nausea flu type sypmtoms and now neuritis on my limbs. Went to the ER for first time in my life and they were clueless. Prescribed cortisone for a few days which I was hesitant to take but need to make sure I don’t get permanent damage so I am taking them. I cannot find anyone describing these symptoms and what to do for it. Can you advise please? My doctor cannot see me for a month and I was hoping to get blood work to make sure I am not getting any other of the reactions you mentioned above. Praying it is only temporary.

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  10. Claire

    My son (6 year old) was stung on his lip two days ago. There was pain and swelling but no stinger. Maybe it was a yellow jacket? We used a baking soda paste and watched him carefully. Swelling went down by morning almost completely. But the next morning itbis swollen again. What should we do?

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  11. Jemma

    I was stung yesterday on my middle finger by 2 bees at the same time (I’m pretty sure they were making out😂) it really hurt and it still hurts after 24 hours

    Pain level:
    When I was stung:8
    Few minutes after:6
    Hours after:8
    Next morning:9
    Afternoon of next day:10
    Night of next day:10

    The pain is an aching pain on all of my my fingers,

    But why?

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    • Hi Jenna,

      That sounds super painful. I’m so sorry!

      Perhaps this is a type of delayed reaction. Dr. Greene says “Delayed reactions result when the body’s immune system prepares for future stings, but some of the exuberant defense measures inadvertently turn against the body itself. These symptoms begin more than four hours after the initial sting. ” He discuss bee sting reactions in more depth in this article –> Bee Sting Reactions & Treatments.

      Best, @MsGreene
      Note: I am the co-founder of DrGreene.com, but I am not Dr. Greene and I am not a doctor. Please keep that in mind when reading my comments and replies.

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  12. Heather Brunton

    I was stung twice on the arm by a bee and two lumps appeared. The lumps are still there although it was two months ago. Why would they not go? I am 59 and wondered if it due to a lack of elasticity in my body?

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  13. George Lee

    I was stung 3 times by a bumblebee, 2 times by a honeybee, 3 times by a yellowjacket, and 17 times by a fire ant(due to 3x of swarming many years ago, and 1 fire ant last year).
    Thankfully, I’m not allergic to any of those stings, and swelling was somewhat mild.

    I have thankfully gotten no allergic reactions of any type.

    But while they did hurt, I later found out they were FAR from the most painful insect stings.

    After reading the Guinness Book of World Records 2017, I found out the most painful insect sting, then did research and found something big.

    There are some insects with much more painful stings out there, listed, by an entomologist named Justin O. Schmidt.
    He studied insects, and got stung 1000 times by 83 types of insects, and ranked them on a 4-point scale, from 0 to 4.

    He made colorful descriptions, comparing their sensations to other scenarios to give everyone an idea of them.

    Most people try to get away from insects and other creatures that might bite/sting, but he did otherwise.
    He gave his life in the name of Science.

    He’s known as “The Man of 1000 Stings”.

    I’m showing you his list of insect stings with descriptions (and their Scientific Latin names), not for plagairism, but to give you emphasis.
    Ranking from least to most painful.
    Here’s a list of them:

    Club-horned Wasp (Sapyga pumila)
    Pain level: 0.5
    Description: Dissapointing; A paper clip falls on your bare foot.

    Triepeolus sp. (A type of bee)
    Pain level: 0.5
    Description: Did I just imagine that?; A little scratch that dances with a tickle.

    Potter Wasp (Eumeninae sp.)
    Pain level: 0.5
    Description: Looks deceive. Rich and full bodied in appearance, but flavorless.

    Indian Jumping Ant (Harpegnathos saltator)
    Pain level: 1
    Description: Ah, that wonderful wake up feeling, like coffee, but oh so bitter.

    Delicate Trap-jaw Ant (Anochetus inermis)
    Pain level: 1
    Description: A tiny spark, just enough to rouse you from a dreamy stroll in the woods; a slight jolt as you return in reality.

    Bothroponera striglosa (A type of African black ant)
    Pain level: 1
    Description: Timid, but not painless; A pebble kicked up by a passing car ricochets off your ankle.

    Asian Needle Ant (Brachyponera chinensis)
    Pain level: 1
    Description: Nightfall following a day at the beach. You forgot the sunscreen, your burned nose lets you know.

    Big-eyed Ant (Opthalmopone berthoudi)
    Pain level: 1
    Description: A sharp interruption as you absorb the beauty of Africa; An acacia spine just poked through your sandal.

    Ectatomma ruidum (A type of black ant)
    Pain level: 1
    Description: A brief searing; like tuna on a grill. The bottom is blanched, but not cooked through.

    Leptogenes kitteli (A type of Asian army ant)
    Pain level: 1
    Description: Simple and plain; A loose carpet tack pierces the ball of your wool-socked foot.

    Elongated Twig Ant (Pseudomyrmex gracilis)
    Pain level: 1
    Description: Reminiscent of a childhood bully; Intimidating, but his punch only glanced your chin, and you live for another day.

    Slender Twig Ant (Tetraponera sp.)
    Pain level: 1
    Description: A skinny bully’s punch; It’s too weak to hurt you, but you suspect a cheap trick might be coming

    Anthophorid bee (Emphoropsis pallida)
    Description: Almost pleasant; a lover just bit your earlobe a little too hard.

    Sweat Bees (Lasioglossum spp.)
    Pain level: 1
    Description: Light and ephemeral, almost fruity; A tiny spark has singed a single hair on your arm.

    Cactus Bee (Diadasia rinconis)
    Pain level: 1
    Description: A skewering message: GET LOST! Surprising, because you did not touch a cactus spine, until you realize it’s from a bee.

    Cuckoo Bee (Ericrocis lata)
    Pain level: 1
    Description: Touch of fear unrealized; Oh, and I wanted to show you how brave I was!

    Little Wasp (Polybia occidentalis)
    Pain level: 1
    Description: Sharp meets spice; A slender cactus spine brushed against a buffalo wing before it poked your arm.

    Great Black Wasp (Sphex pensylvanicus)
    Pain level: 1
    Description: Simple and presumptious; Your younger sibling just nipped at your pinkie finger.

    Iridescent Cockroach Hunter (Chlorion cynaeum)
    Pain level: 1
    Description: Itchy with a hint of sharpness; A single stinging nettle pricked your hand.

    Scarab Hunter Wasp (Triscolia ardens)
    Pain level: 1
    Description: Like a sip of tannin, bitterness lingers.

    Water-walking Wasp (Euodynerus crypticus)
    Pain level: 1
    Description: Clever, but trivial?; A little like magic in that you cannot quite figure out the difference between pain and illusion.

    Mud Dauber (Sceliphron carmentarium)
    Pain level: 1
    Description: Sharp with a flare of heat; Jalapeno cheese when you were expecting Havarti.

    Little White Velvet Ant (Technically a Wasp – Dasymutilla thetis)
    Pain level: 1
    Description: Deceptive, like the name. Immediate, rashy, you want to scratch away the kiss of itch; A sand crab pinched your toe while you tanned.

    Red Fire Ant (Solenopsis invicta)
    Pain Level: 1.2
    Description: Sharp, sudden, mildly alarming; Like walking across a shag carpet and reaching for the light switch.

    Tropical Fire Ant (Solenopsis geminata)
    Pain level: 1.2
    Description: You should have learned, but the carpet is the same, and when you again reach for the light switch, the shock mocks you.

    Southern Fire Ant (Solenopsis xyloni)
    Pain level: 1.2
    Description: It happens on the 3rd day, as you reach for the light switch, and you’re wondering, when will you ever learn.

    European Fire Ant (Myrmica rubra)
    Pain level: 1.3
    Description: The prickle of stinging nettles against your skin on a hot, humid day.

    Pacific Cicada Killer (Sphecius convallis)
    Pain level: 1.3
    Description: Clean. Concentrated dish detergent seeps into a freshly cut finger.

    Giant Sweat Bee (Dieunomia heteropoda)
    Pain level: 1.5
    Description: Size matters, but it’s not everything; A silver tablespoon drops squarely onto your big toenail, sending you hopping.

    Paper Wasp (Polistes versicolor)
    Pain level: 1.5
    Description: Burning, throbbing, and lonely; A single drop of superheated frying oil landed on your arm.

    Thread-waisted Paper Wasp (Belonogaster sp.)
    Pain level: 1.5
    Description: Attention getting; Like the time your classmate stabbed you with a pencil point.

    Samsum Ant (Euponera sennaarensis)
    Pain level: 1.5
    Description: Pure, sharp, piercing pain; You pressed your thumb on a tack.

    Suturing Army Ant (Eciton burchellii)
    Pain level: 1.5
    Description: A cut on your elbow, stitched with a rusty needle.

    Ectatomma tuberculatum (A large golden ant)
    Pain level: 1.5
    Description: A slow stream of hot wax poured over your wrist. You want to twist away, but you can’t.

    Giant Ant (Dinoponera gigantea)
    Pain level: 1.5
    Description: A pulsing sting with some flavor; You stepped into a salt bath with an open wound.

    Giant Stink Ant (Paltothyreus tarsatus)
    Pain level: 1.5
    Description: You must have upset the nurses. They stuck you with a big needle and then dribbled in garlic oil.

    Western Cicada Killer (Sphecius grandis)
    Pain level: 1.5
    Description: Pain at first sight, like poison oak, the more you rub, the worse it gets.

    Multillidae sp. (A nocturnal velvet ant)
    Pain level: 1.5
    Description: Itch, burn, and more itch; A toothpick dipped in both itch powder and hot sauce is stuck in your thigh.

    Bulldog Ant type. 1 (Myrmecia simillima)
    Pain level: 1.5
    Description: Intense, ripping, and sharp; The dog’s tooth found its mark.

    Red Bull Ant (Myrmecia gulosa)
    Pain level: 1.5
    Description: A sneaky, unassuming ache; Like a brightly colored LEGO, charming till it’s lodged in the arch of your foot in the dark.

    Bulldog Ant type. 2 (Myrmecia rufinodis)
    Pain level: 1.5
    Description: Shockingly sharp; A scalpel just lanced your palm.

    Metabele Ant (Megaponera analis)
    Pain level: 1.5
    Description: A child’s arrow misses its target and finds its home in your calf.

    Ectatomma quadridens (A type of big black ant)
    Pain level: 1.5
    Description: A burning itch to catch your attention, followed by regret; like ordering spicy chicken wings when you have a mouth sore.

    Ferocious Polybia Wasp (Polybia rejecta)
    Pain level: 1.5
    Description: Like a trick gone wrong; Your posterior is a target for a BB gun. Bull’s-eye over and over.

    Bullhorn Acacia Ant (Pseudomyrex nigrocinctus)
    Pain level: 1.8
    Description: A rare, piercing, elevated sort of pain; Someone has fired a staple into your cheek.

    Diacamma sp. (A type of black ant)
    Pain level: 2
    Description: Nothing subtle about this one. Sudden and striking; a shard of glass on a tropical beach pulls you out of the moment as it finds a nerve in your bare foot.

    Large Tropical Black Ant (Neoponera villosa)
    Pain level: 2
    Description: Exquisitely sharp and expertly clean; Broadway’s favorite barber selects his next victim.

    Neoponera crassinoda (A type of big black ant)
    Pain level: 2
    Description: This one packs a punch; The dentist should have given that novocaine more time to take effect.

    Termite-raiding Ant (Neoponera commutate)
    Pain level: 2
    Description: The debilitating pain of a migraine contained in the tip of your finger. And their queen can sting like her sisters!

    Bald-faced hornet (Dolichovespula maculata)
    Pain level: 2
    Description: Rich, hearty, slightly crunchy; Similar to getting your hand mashed in a revolving door.

    Honey Wasp (Brachygastra mellificia)
    Pain level: 2
    Description: Spicy, blistering; A cotton swab dipped in habanero sauce has been pushed up your nose.

    Artistic Wasp (Parachartergus fraternus)
    Pain level: 2
    Description: Pure, then messy, then corrosive; Love and marriage followed by divorce.

    Western Honeybee (Apis mellifera)
    Pain level: 2
    Description: Burning, corrosive, but you can handle it; A flaming matchhead lands on your arm and is quenched first with lye and then sulfuric acid.

    Bumblebees (Bombus spp.)
    Pain level: 2
    Description: Colorful flames; Fireworks land on your arm.

    Western Yellowjacket (Vespula pensylvanica)
    Pain level: 2
    Description: Hot and smoky, almost irreverent; Imagine W.C. Fields extinguishing a cigar on your tongue.

    Californian Carpenter Bee (Xylocopa californica)
    Pain level: 2
    Description: Swift, sharp, and decisive; Your fingertip has been slammed by a car door.

    Jack Jumper Ant (Myrmecia pilosula)
    Pain level: 2
    Description: The oven mitt had a hole in it when you pulled the cookies out of the oven.

    Metallic Green Ant (Rhytidoponera metallica)
    Pain level: 2
    Description: Deceptively painful; Like biting into a green bell pepper to find it is a habanero chili.

    African Giant Ant (Streblognathus aethiopicus)
    Pain level: 2
    Description: The white hot burn of a barbecue fork impaling your hand, pared with the grizzle of a serrated knife.

    Platythyrea lamellose (A purple ant)
    Pain level: 2
    Description: Relentless prickling throughout your body; Like wearing a wool jumpsuit laced with pine needles and poison ivy.

    Platythyrea pilosula (A sleek ant)
    Pain level: 2
    Description: A torturous itch and rash with serious lasting power: Should have spent the extra money and paid for a licensed tattoo artist.

    Colonial Thread-Waisted Wasp (Belonogaster juncea colonialis)
    Pain level: 2
    Description: Tenacious in a stringy way. Tangy; You can’t extract yourself from the man-o-war’s tentacles.

    Unstable Paper Wasp (Polistes instabilis)
    Pain level: 2
    Description: Like a dinner guest who stays much too long, the pain drones on; A hot dutch oven lands on your hand and you can’t get it off.

    Glorious Velvet Ant (Technically a Wasp – Dasymutilla gloriosa)
    Pain level: 2
    Description: Instantaneous, like the surprise of being stabbed. Is this what shrapnel feels like?

    Trap-jaw Ant (Odontomachus spp.)
    Pain level: 2.5
    Description: Instantaneous and excruciating; A rat trap snaps your index fingernail.

    Nocturnal Hornet (Provespa sp.)
    Pain level: 2.5
    Description: Rude, insulting; An ember from your campfire is glued to your forearm.

    Giant Bornean Carpenter Bee (Xylocopa sp.)
    Pain level: 2.5
    Description: Electrifying, sharp, and piercing; Next time, hire an electrician.

    Golden Paper Wasp (Polistes aurifer)
    Pain level: 2.5
    Description: Sharp, piercing, and immediate; You know what cattle feel when they are branded.

    Yellow Fire Wasp (Agelaia myrmecophilia)
    Pain level: 2.5
    Description: An odd, distressing pain; Tiny blowtorches kiss your arms and legs.

    Fierce Black Polybia Wasp (Polybia simillima)
    Pain level: 2.5
    Description: A ritual gone wrong, satanic; The gas lamp in the old church explodes in your face when you light it.

    Dasymutilla klugii (A huge velvet ant, technically a wasp, the Cow Killer)
    Pain level: 3
    Description: Explosive and long lasting, you sound insane as you scream. Hot oil from the deep fryer spilling over your entire hand.

    Florida Harvester Ant (Pogonomyrmex badius)
    Pain level: 3
    Description: Bold and unrelenting; Somebody is using a power drill to excavate your ingrown toenail.

    Maricopa Harvester Ant (Pogonomyrex maricopa)
    Pain level: 3
    Description: After 8 unrelenting hours of drilling into that ingrown toenail, you find the drill is wedged in the toe.

    Argentine Harvester Ant (Ephebomyrmex cunicularis)
    Pain level: 3
    Description: A ferocious pang lasting 12 hours or more; Flesh-eating bacteria dissolve your muscles, one by precious one.

    Red Paper Wasp (Polistes canadensis)
    Pain level: 3
    Description: Caustic and burning, with a distinctly bitter aftertaste; Like spilling a beaker of hydrochloric acid on a paper cut.

    Red-headed Paper Wasp (Polistes erythrocephalis)
    Pain level: 3
    Description: Immediate, irrationally intense, and unrelenting; This is the closest you will come to seeing the blue of a flame from within the fire.

    Giant Paper Wasp (Megapolistes sp.)
    Pain level: 3
    Description: There are gods, and they dod throw their thunderbolts; Poseidon just rammed his trident into your breast.

    Tarantula Hawk (A Spider Wasp – Pepsis spp.)
    Pain level: 4
    Description: Blinding, fierce, shockingly electric; A running hair dryer has just been dropped into your bubblebath.

    Warrior Wasp (a.k.a. Armidillo Wasp – Synoeca septentrionalis)
    Pain level: 4+
    Description: Torture; You are chained in the flow of an active volcano.

    Bullet Ant (Paraponera clavata)
    Pain level: 4+
    Description: Pure, intense, brilliant pain; Like walking over flaming charcoal with a 3″ nail embedded in your heel.

    So I was stung by Red Fire Ants, Western Honeybees, Bumblebees, Yellowjackets, and one type of different wasp, possibly the Bald-faced Hornet.
    Glad it wasn’t anything worse.
    Other than the pain of the yellowjacket sting, the other symptoms I experienced were nothing other than mild tiredness for a little while, but that was no allergic reaction.
    Thank science, and the “hero” behind it, we now have knowledge.

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  14. Gayle Haberkam

    Dear Dr. Greene, My son, age 24 was stung by a wasp on the left temple area 2.5 months ago. He had a local and systemic reaction to it right away, which was treated by a Doctor in urgent care. He received a steroid injection, a medrol dose pack, and given adrenalin for future use. When he was 9 years old he had a similar sting and similar treatment, but for 3 months he was dizzy and had several fainting spells.

    Now he has become very light headed and cannot drive his truck or go to work because he feels like he will pass out. He went to the Emergency Room and was checked for diabetes and thyroid, both of which are normal. Is this still that wicked bee sting bothering him? What can we do? He needs to work!

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  15. Dan

    I believe the original question was, “How long does bee venom remain in your system?” I’m not a doctor. I can only relay my personal experience. When I was about 8 years old, I uprooted a yellow jacket nest. Suffice to say, I was stunk several hundred times (they stopped counting after several hundred) and was hospitalized for several days. Ever since, I’m now 53, bees of any variety, gravitate to me like a magnet. They land on me constantly, swarm around me, especially my head, but I have NEVER been stung. So I’d have to say, depending on the severity of the attack, something remains a vey long time.

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    • Dan

      Wow so your like a bee whisperer!

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  16. Brenda E

    I don’t know if this is related, but I was stung in the middle of the small of my back at least 25 yrs ago. I have a scar that used to periodically swell. Now…I am getting burning pain several times a day in this area. Is it related???? What can I do for it? I know it sounds very strange. Brenda

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  17. Zack

    My girlfriend got stung on the back of her head nearly 7 months ago. Her family has a history of allergic reactions to stings, so she was given the proper medication for two weeks after the sting. The symptoms went away, but now in the same spot where she was stung there is a redness and soreness. Is there any explanation for this?

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  18. Justin

    Hey my name is Justin. i was riding a motorcycle yesterday early afternoon when something flew into my neck, I felt a sharp but mild burn first, so i tried to rub it off. As soon as i touched where the burning was on my neck it increased the pain by like 200%, I stopped at a nearby gas station when I discovered a bee’s stinger I presume it was. It is about 24 hours later and it spread the entire bottom of my neck and piece of my shoulder which is red and swollen. I usually don’t have any reactions except the usual bit of swelling and what not but this time it is spreading. Should i worry due to this exact thing happened to me a month back but symptoms lasted an hour and not much longer. Thank you.

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  19. Tammy

    I was stung in June 3 times by a wasp in the back of my heal and also on my hand .
    It is now December and my ankle burns like the wasp is still stinging me . What can I do to stop this torture. It happens several times a day with a burning pain. I am allergic to all bees and wasp bites and had to take a large dose of benedryl and had a lot of swelling in my hand and ankle. Is there a way to stop this burning pain ?

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  20. Brookie

    Everyone keeps asking questions that are answered in the article. Beyond that, see a doctor ASAP. Unfortunately it seems the doctor who wrote the article cannot answer all the questions. So, if it’s alright, I will share some things that I have observed. I am not a doctor, this is not medical advice. This is my own opinion I am sharing. Evaluate according to your own discretion.
    From my experience ( I get stung by sweat bees several times a day, every day, yes even in bad weather- I live near a field), it is important to not only remove the stinger ( which can be extremely small depending on the size of the bee or wasp…maybe less than 1/32 of an inch..get a jewelers loop), but I have to gently get the venom out. EACH AND EVERY time. It is usually mixed with the white blood cells, clear liquid my body releases to combat the venom and can be as little as a drop the size of head of a pin. But I carefully squeeze it out and apply alcohol. If it looks like it’s getting red or infected I go to the doctor and get an antibiotic ASAP.
    The sight where the sting occurred reacts specifically. In other words, when I got stung near my ear, I had an inner ear imbalance for several weeks. When I was stung near my thyroid,on my neck, I went HYPO (documented as reactive hypothyroid) for a year ! On my chest, it caused an arrythmia so near the heart. On my hand, joint inflammation. Remember our skin is really quite thin, and the bee venom has the ability to travel into nearby nerves, blood vessels and muscles. Look up “insect venom” and you will see how it is designed by nature to attack nerve function and other things.
    If you have a swelling and hardness over the bite months or even years later, it may mean the stinger is still in the skin, and perhaps even venom within the sac that is at the end of the stinger. The body does not dissolve it. It must be removed by a doctor under magnification. The hard skin is the body’s attempt to “live with it” and it surrounds the stinger with a protective callous.
    I personally have felt flu-ey, achey, nauseous, dizzy and anxious for a few days after a bad sting day. My muscles will ache, I will get sleepy right after a sting, too. Sometimes the sting does not “register” with my system for many hours, and I won’t feel sick until late that night, or even the next morning.
    And, yes, I’m planning on moving as soon as I can.
    I hope you guys all feel better soon. Go to the doctor if you feel sick. This story was just to help your understanding. This article was excellent, but sharing is supportive.

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    • Hi Bookie,

      Thanks so much for your response.

      You are accurate that many of the questions in the comment section are answered in the original article. It can be difficult for people to sort through the entire text to find what applies to them. As a result they ask questions that have been answered. You are also accurate that the doctor who wrote the original post does not answer questions that have already been addressed in the article.

      Thanks for sharing your experiences.

      Best, @MsGreene
      Note: I am the co-founder of DrGreene.com, but I am not Dr. Greene and I am not a doctor. Please keep that in mind when reading my comments and replies.

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    • yvette

      Did you ever experience neuritis after your stings?

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  21. Natalie

    I was at the beach yesterday and stepped on a bee so it stung me on the side of my toe and it was fine after fifteen minutes but now a day later it started hurting out of nowhere in the middle of the day and it feels like I broke it. Looks quite swollen and I can’t walk on it. What can I use (something that I’ll most likely have at home?) to help me

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  22. Jennifer B

    My 4 year old son get stung by a bumblebee on his neck or we could go today at Disney World we took over the first day they put some sting stuff on it and some Benadryl in swelling and everything went down now a week later he woke up and at the sting site was swollen and pink is this normal. I personally got the stinger out myself.

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    • Jennifer,

      This sounds like a delayed sting reaction. Dr. Greene says “Delayed reactions result when the body’s immune system prepares for future stings, but some of the exuberant defense measures inadvertently turn against the body itself. These symptoms begin more than four hours after the initial sting. Delayed reactions include serum sickness (fever, weakness, rash, swelling, and/or intense itching which begin a week after the sting), nephrotic syndrome (inflammation of the kidney), neuritis (inflammation of the nerves), or inflammation of other parts of the body.” To find out more, click here.

      Best, @Msgreene
      Note: I answer a lot of questions on DrGreene.com, I am the co-founder of DrGreene.com, Dr. Greene’s business partner and wife, but I am a not doctor. Please keep that in mind when reading my comments and replies.

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  23. Kayla

    I got stung in the face by a yellow jacket and I am allergic to them I am starting to feel sick to the stomach and got a really bad headache what should I do

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    • Kanyl,

      If you already know you’re allergic, it’s time to get to an ER. If you think it’s not life-threatening, you can look for a less expensive Urgent Care Clinic.

      Let us know how this all goes.

      Best,
      @MsGreene
      Co-founder & Executive Producer DrGreene.com, Mom
      Note: Not Dr. Greene, not a doctor. Keep that in mind when reading my comments and replies.

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  24. Terry

    I was stung by a hornet (looks similar to the yellow jacket) on the thumb and the next day on the eyebrow by a honey bee — both stingers were removed. Since then my blood pressure has been elevated (now a week) — is this normal?

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  25. Jennifer

    I was stung by a bee last week (Around 9th November) and when the stinger was pulled out after a few minutes, the area became a welt instantly and went down after a few hours. However, on the safer side, I consulted the doctor and he gave me antibiotic for me to consume. Now, a week has past and the area around the stinger was is still slightly swollen and it is itchy too.

    Can I know is it normal for it to itch after 1 week and the area being slightly swollen? Appreciate if you could reply to my question. Thank you!

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  26. Zak Kandler

    I was stung by a bumble bee and now I have a red line of swollenness running up my leg is this normal

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    • Gwej.

      Go to Urgent Care or E. R. a red line is not a good sign

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  27. Sarah

    My son (6years old)was stung by a bee yesterday, early afternoon and by midnight he was vomiting and had a fever. He has also been coughing quite a bit and very thirsty. Is this related to the bee sting? Do I need to take him to a doctor?

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    • Hi Sarah,

      Dr. Greene says, “Systemic reactions such as hives, redness, or swelling elsewhere on the body, vomiting, dizziness, hoarseness, thickened speech, or difficulty breathing, should receive prompt medical care from a physician.”

      I hope this is helpful,
      @MsGreene
      Co-founder & Executive Producer DrGreene.com, Mom
      Note: Not Dr. Greene, not a doctor. Keep that in mind when reading my comments and replies.

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  28. Alison

    Hello there,
    I was stung on 9th Oct by a yellow jacket, since then I have suffered a fever, sore throat, cough and wheezing which has lasted almost 5 weeks… I feel super drained… Im 42 and shouldn’t be this tired.. Can you please advise if there is anything I can do to stop these symptoms?
    Thanks and regards
    Aliosn

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    • Alison,

      That sounds miserable.

      Dr. Greene writes to another reader, “Treatment of allergies includes preventing stings, carrying epinephrine (that should be injected following a sting whenever there are any systemic symptoms such as dizziness, swelling of the lips or tongue, or difficulty breathing), corticosteroids, antihistamines, and/or possibly allergy shots.”

      Have you tried over the counter antihistamines, such as Benadryl? This may provide a level of relief, though many people experience drowsiness from Benadryl. If you are one of the, consider an non-sedating antihistamine, such as Zyrtec.

      I hope that’s helpful, @MsGreene
      Co-founder and Executive Producer DrGreene.com
      Note: I answer a lot of questions on DrGreene.com, I am the co-founder of DrGreene.com, Dr. Greene’s business partner, but I am a not doctor. Please keep that in mind when reading my comments and replies.

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    • Michelle

      You are having an allergic reaction to the bee sting toxin.
      Go to the doctor or hospital immediately.

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  29. Srava

    Hi,

    I got stung by a bee 3 days back on my right thigh, I have taken antihistamine last 2 days, swelling and redness reduced a bit, but the pain is intense today around the bite. Will the pain persist till 3 days? Should I see a doctor or will the pain go away?

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  30. Janice daniels

    I get flu like symptoms and a migraine that last a week every time I get stung, but has I get older it gets worse. soar throat, nausea, dizziness, light headed. medication doesn’t seem to help.

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  31. Melinda

    I was bit by a honey bee on my inner thigh four days ago. I took allergy medication, as I am allergic. The swelling in the site of the sting is getting larger by the day and is now painful. Today I feel groggy, and am running a 101 degree fever. My entire body is achy. I was bit about 15 years ago and went in to Anaphylactic shock along with hives and swelling of my entire body. Advise please!!

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  32. Michael

    Hi! I was stung about 2 weeks ago by a striped bee and my lower thigh. It itched for a few days after but nothing much. Fast forward and I am now experiencing hives that come and go all over my body! If anyone has any info on this please leave it below!!!

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  33. Ellen

    I was stung almost 2 weeks ago and it seemed to be getting better a few day ago, it is now back and is even worse?

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  34. Cristian

    Hey can someone please help me
    I was stung by a bee on my back
    And I still get pains from where it stung me what’s happening

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    • Cristian,

      How long ago were you stung?

      @MsGreene

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      • Michelle

        Hi Cheryl, I am also still hurting behind my ear two years later after a sting..I would like very much to know what this is.

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        • Michell,

          Two years after a sting? And it started with the sting? Have you discussed this with your doctor? What does he or she say?

          Best,
          @MsGreene
          Co-founder & Executive Producer DrGreene.com, Mom
          Note: Not Dr. Greene, not a doctor. Keep that in mind when reading my comments and replies.

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  35. Brittany

    I was in my backyard and i was walking as my foot came down a bee flew under it quickly and stung my bottom foot at first i didnt realize i was stung and steped down pushing it more in sadly and when i left my foot up the bee was still alive with the stinger stuck i. My foot so i pulled both the bee and stinger out and clean my foot and stuff well it swelled about 2 inchs and was numb now a week later its soo itchy am i allergic or is that normal? My mon is allergic to them..

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    • Brittany,

      Dr. Greene says, “Delayed reactions result when the body’s immune system prepares for future stings, but some of the exuberant defense measures inadvertently turn against the body itself. These symptoms begin more than four hours after the initial sting. Delayed reactions … intense itching which begin a week after the sting).”

      There “are two types of tests can help predict whether someone will have an allergic reaction to future bee stings. Neither test is perfect, but each can be useful as a supplement to the other. Skin testing … [and a] blood test called the RAST test”.

      You can ask your doctor if you are a candidate for either test.

      Best,
      @MsGreene
      Co-founder & Executive Producer DrGreene.com, Mom

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  36. Brandon

    I was stung on my outer thigh earlier this summer, no biggie…to date I have a softball size area of numbness where I was stung. What’s up with that? Never have I ever had a reaction to bee sting.

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  37. Kirsten

    My 1 yr old was stung this morning , I gave her antihistamine and almost 8 hrs later she has a fever of 39 . I’m keeping a close eye, but I had no idea these bees could do that !

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  38. Miki

    I was stung yesterday and woke up this morning nauseated and dizzy. I sat my arm on a grocery cart right onto the bee squashing into my arm. I can’t tell if the stinger is out. Its very sore and red.
    Should I be worried about it ?

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    • Shelby

      Did you ever get a response? I’m in the same boat and not sure if I need treatment or if it will just pass. Stepped on a bee yesterday and today I have flu-like symptoms. Not sure what to do about it.

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      • Shelby,

        Dr. Greene says, “Systemic reactions such as hives, redness, or swelling elsewhere on the body, vomiting, dizziness, hoarseness, thickened speech, or difficulty breathing, should receive prompt medical care from a physician.”

        I hope this is helpful,
        Best, @MsGreene
        Co-founder & Executive Producer DrGreene.com, Mom
        Note: I answer a lot of questions on DrGreene.com, I am the co-founder of DrGreene.com, Dr. Greene’s business partner and wife, but I am a not doctor. Please keep that in mind when reading my comments and replies.

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  39. Ashley

    My 7 year old son was stung by a bee about 2- 2.5 weeks ago, on the side of his knee. It swelled up really big the next day, and caused a slight limp, and ended up getting a couple of small blisters. It all healed itself within a few days and he went back to being his normal, active self. About a week and a half ago, he started complaining of pain in the same leg. At first it wasn’t too bad, and I didn’t give much attention to it (I figured it was one of the many pains my kids always complain about but never amount to anything and they forget about it). Gradually, it got worse, and he began to limp and complain more frequently. Took him to the doctor, who did an x-ray and blood work. All tests came back normal, so we had him take it easy on that leg and rest a bit. Still though, his leg got worse, to the point where he can’t walk on it, so we took him to the ER two days ago. X-rays, blood work, ultrasound… all normal. No fever, no swelling, or anything else. He was given a boot for his leg, in case he has a micro fracture. The boot helped for a day, but now his pain is so bad, he can’t walk with the boot and he can’t move his leg hardly at all. We are going to take him back to the doctor in the morning, but can’t fathom what might be going on. Could the bee sting and these symptoms be at all related??? I feel like the answer is no, but we are at a loss for what might be wrong with him.

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    • Suzette

      Did you take him back in? Did they find anything? My 2 year old has these same symptoms. I’m so worried, I started looking up things and found your story. Is he ok now?

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    • Ben Ross

      This sounds a lot like the symptoms of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome. It’s also called Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy. It’s a bit outdated now, but some of the best info was at rsdrx.com
      Dr. Hooshang Hooshmand got me out of a wheelchair, unfortunately he’s no longer practicing.

      Instead of a bee sting causing mine, I was tripped by a kid at school. It doesn’t need to be any specific type of trauma, although certain types seem to be more common than others in causing it. Unexpected trauma seems to be worse. Rare for someone playing football or some other contact sport to get it for example.

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  40. Suzanne McCormick

    My husband got stung probably 500 plus times by africanized killer bees in Phoenix Arizona last week. We took him to the ER but the hospital said they had never had a case of this many bee stings and they basically didn’t know what to do. Very odd that a hospital didn’t know what to do. They gave him a steroid shot and let him sleep for five hours and sent us home with hundreds maybe thousands of stingers in him. We looked it up on the internet and saw that we should take a credit card and scrape over the stingers and got out as many as we could. The bees chased him for three blocks and got him on the forehead, neck, arms, and back. Back because he pulled a shirt over his head to try to protect his head but they still got him numerous times on the face. It’s been ten days and he has bad muscle aches, nauseous, muscle spasms in his esophagus, sweats, and all around discomfort. His family Dr. today gave him an allergy shot but said that the venom will be in his system for a very long time if not forever. Is that true.

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  41. Colette

    My mother (70 years old) got stung by a bee about a month ago on her hand and it has been a month and that area (about an inch around) is still swollen and it itches now and then. Does this warrant a visit to the doctor? Or should we wait and see?

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  42. Lindsay

    I got stung yesterday didn’t think anything of it just a normal bee sting was fine all day but when I woke up this morning my arm was in a lot of pain very heavy and feels weak and sore I got stung on my arm the inside close to my arm pit and I didn’t get the stinger out there wasn’t one in there and all around it is very red what could be the problem?

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    • Lindsay,

      As Dr. Greene says, “Delayed reactions result when the body’s immune system prepares for future stings, but some of the exuberant defense measures inadvertently turn against the body itself. These symptoms begin more than four hours after the initial sting. Delayed reactions include serum sickness (fever, weakness, rash, swelling, and/or intense itching which begin a week after the sting), nephrotic syndrome (inflammation of the kidney), neuritis (inflammation of the nerves), or inflammation of other parts of the body.”

      Bee sting treatment includes:

      1. An antihistamine such as Benadryl, taken by mouth, can give some added relief, and help prevent the reaction from spreading.
      2. A shake lotion such as calamine can be helpful. A paste made of baking soda and water can have a similar effect.
      3. Topical hydrocortisone can also provide some symptomatic relief.
      4. Give acetaminophen or ibuprofen for systemic pain relief.

      Best,
      @MsGreene

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      • yvette

        Ms. Green, sorry to bother you. I am not getting any referrals from the ER drs but I am getting peripheral neuropathy wks after sting. My other serum sickness symptoms have subsided but no one believes a bee sting can cause this. I am feeling weaker and weaker and steroids have not helped. Praying it is temporary. Have you heard of patients having this be temp or could it cause permanent damage?

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  43. Marissa

    A couple years ago, I got stung by a bee on the shoulder, and I had my mom pull out the stinger. Now I have a permanent bump in the same location the bee stung me in. Its a small round bump less than an inch. Is there a way for the bump to go away? What does this mean?

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  44. Samantha

    Hey there my boyfriend got stung multiple times last night went to the emergency room for monitoring and I’v meds to prevent a reaction….well he seems to be ok really tired feeling and now he says his right side feels weak? Or he is favoring it!? We don’t know how many times he got stung and he isn’t allergic and didn’t have an allergic reaction but it still worries me that something could possibly happen this far after the fact? Your opinion please

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  45. Lynn

    My son was stung in upper back on the 12 th of September and on the 21st of September he had a rash all around the site and the next day he had a rash all over his body. Would it take that long for him to have a reaction?

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    • Lynn,

      Yes, delayed reactions are possible.

      @MsGreene

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  46. Amy

    I was stung by a bee on Sunday September 18 its now September 20, Right after I was stung I took an allergy pills because of knowing that I am allergic to bee stings. There was no stinger to take out both myself and my mom checked to see. The site immediately turned red. My question is it normal for the site to continue being itchy and for the swelling and redness to continue to spread down my leg? The last time I was stung it was on my bottom and I was a child so I don’t really remember it. Can you please give me some advice on what to do please? Thank you for helping if you are able to I would appreciate any feedback that you could have for me!!

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    • Hi Amy,

      Dr. Greene says, “Large local reactions, larger than 3 inches in diameter, will often persist for up to a week. A physician should be consulted if the reaction continues to spread.”

      For more details info, see Treating Bee Stings.

      @MsGreene

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    • Angela

      I squeezed mine and clear brown liquid came out and my swelling went down and relieved my pain and redness went away

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  47. jarrett

    I was stung once on the hand about a month ago and had what I read as a typical severe reaction and it lasted about 5 days but ever since I been depressed restless and been having hot flashes that have increased in amount and how long they occur. Today I sweated about a gallon in the morning and didn’t not wanna get out of bed I’m headed to the hospital tomorrow I’m just curious if an allergic reaction to the sting is my issue. I have a small hard bump where I was stung that I feel may contain venom soon. Its driving me crazy

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    • Jarrett,

      It sounds like a trip to the doctor is in order.

      Please let us know how it goes.

      @MsGreene

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  48. Anna

    Hello, so I got stung on my stomach two days ago, and the swelling doubled in size each day. There is a little blister in the middle, or so my mom says, but I can’t seem to find the stinger. This morning I started getting hives up and down my stomach and back, and I have a feeling of dizziness in my head. My dad says that if I just rest and go to school I’ll be fine, but I’m not reallly sure what to do.
    Any help?

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    • Anna,

      Dr. Greene says, “Systemic reactions such as hives, redness, or swelling elsewhere on the body, vomiting, dizziness, hoarseness, thickened speech, or difficulty breathing, should receive prompt medical care from a physician.”

      I say, better safe than sorry.

      @MsGreene

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  49. Casey

    So I was stung around 17 times by yellow jackets in California in July 2015. The majority of the stings were on my legs, but I had one on my forearm above the elbow, slightly to the side of the Ulna bone. It is still raised, red, and slightly sensitive more than a year later. I’ve tried squeezing, pulling at it and putting things on it, but it’s hard and scabbed under the skin. Any suggestions?

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    • Casey,

      It sounds like you may need to see a dermatologist.

      @MsGreene

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  50. andy

    hello
    I stepped on & was stung by a honey bee 4 days ago. Painful at first but couldn’t seem to find a stinger.
    Next day was very itchy.
    My same right side of leg is now cramping, tingling and I can hardly stand or walk on it. Mostly upper back thigh. Does this mean the venom is in the nerves\muscles? Getting a little worried & wondering if I should seek medical advice or just keep taking over the counter meds?

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    • yvette

      Was this temporary? Did you seek help? I am feeling nerve issues wks after a bee sting and cannot find any help anywhere.

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  51. Emm

    Hello

    My 3 year old was stung a week and a half ago on the bottom of her foot.

    Within 2 days The redness and swelling was seen at the site and also it wrapped around to the top of the foot.

    A week and a half later, the site is still slightly swollen but she is complaining of itching and pain to the touch.

    Will this heal in time or should we seek Dr care?

    She is very sensitive to any kind of bug bite. She has worse reactions then anyone else so I expected it to be worse.

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  52. Sherri

    Hello,

    I am 52 and was stung on the ankle by a yellow jacket when mowing the lawn. I did not have that much pain, but within an hour, my palms started to itch and I then proceeded to develop hives, mainly on the abdomen, back and neck area. My ears also got very red and felt warm. I never had any breathing problems, so I took Benadryl every 4 hours. This seemed to help, and the hives disappeared in about 12-18 hours. I then went to the doctor a couple of days later. She did not seem that concerned, but she did prescribe an Epipen. I have had stings previously and have only had localized reactions. My question is this: Am I likely to have a worse reaction next time, such as breathing problems, and should I see an allergist? I asked my doctor, and she did not think I needed to see an allergist. Thanks for your advice.

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  53. Dawn

    Hello, I’m 30 and a week ago I was stung by a bee for the very first time. I accidentally stood on it on my bare feet and screamed with pain, but my parents both looked at my foot and couldn’t see a stinger or feel anything, even though the pain was quite extreme. So I just washed my foot and rested it. But the edge of my foot where I stood on it has been sore/extremely itchy for the past week, and i keep waking up every night with it being so itchy. I’m quite worried about it. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

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    • Angela DiFranco

      I have a bee sting on my hand. It has been quite ichy and still hurts a lot. The stinger is gone. I don”t think it was ever left. The area (the palm) is slightly swollen and discolored.

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    • Amber

      Hi, I’m 33 as of yesterday. I also steeped on a bee and was stung on the bottom of my middle toe, about 2 weeks ago. The itching started a week ago and has gotten worse!

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  54. Laura Howell

    My husband and I went camping 3 days ago and we were on a hike and we were attacked by some meat B’s – Yellow Jackets. We were both very achey and sore and now 3 days later I feel like I’ve been poisoned and he is feeling alot better and his bites are very small while mine are still swollen and itchy. It seems like I’ve started feeling better and then I got worse. Epson salt baths are the only thing that really helped me feel better, and only for little while. We live in Northern California near Lake Tahoe and they are closing campgrounds around here because of bee attacks.

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  55. Ernie Faulkner

    My 60 year old husband got stung 20 or 25 times by yellow jackets mainly on his back and ribs .he has been having alot of muscle pain like spasms all over and has headache his blood pressure and heart rate is normal but genreralized pain for 10 hurs

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    • Ernie,

      Yes, as Dr. Greene says above:

      A fourth type of immediate reaction is the toxic reaction, which can follow multiple stings. This is a direct result of bee venom, and not an allergic reaction. Symptoms can include fever, weakness, nausea, vomiting, and pain. Toxic bee sting reactions are rarely serious, but do sometimes sensitize the child and herald future allergic reactions.

      I hope your husband feels better very soon!

      @MsGreene

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  56. Ashley

    I am 17 weeks pregnant i was stung in the ear about a week ago. Im not allergic. Yes it was painful and turned itchy but no major swelling, pain subsided still is itchy. My gland behind the ear has now started to swell and become sore.

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  57. Concerned

    Two days ago I was stung by a wasp on my leg about 2 inches above my knee. I know that have an allergy to wasp stings so I watched the area closely. I took some Benadryl and everything seemed fine. Yesterday we noticed that from the sting I have formed a 3 1/2 -4 inch red streak with swelling and bruising from the site. It is also starting to make it painful when I walk. What should I do?

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  58. Ann Farley

    My son was stung by multiple bees several years ago and put on a steroid for several days after. He was just stung last night for the first time since that incident. Within 30 minutes, he developed a severe headache, began vomiting and had the chills. He was sick all night but seems okay today. I’m concerned that his reaction could be worse if he is stung again. Any advice would be helpful.

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    • Ann,

      This sounds like a toxic reaction. As Dr. Greene says, “Toxic bee sting reactions are rarely serious, but do sometimes sensitize the child and herald future allergic reactions.”

      It might be wise to bring this up with your son’s doctor. He or she may recommend having an Epipen handy, just in case.

      Hope that’s helpful,
      @MsGreene

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  59. mom of 3

    I was stung yesterday on my calf muscle and today I can not bend my leg. Leg is swollen twice what it would normally be. Insanely painful and cant bend my knee at all. What do i do

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    • mom of 3

      Even though this is on the back of my leg my knee cap is now swelling. .. Any advice

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    • Mom of 3,

      Ouch! That sounds really painful.

      Dr. Greene has some tips for you:

      1. An antihistamine such as Benadryl, taken by mouth, can give some added relief, and help prevent the reaction from spreading.
      2. A shake lotion such as calamine can be helpful. A paste made of baking soda and water can have a similar effect.
      3. Topical hydrocortisone can also provide some symptomatic relief.
      4. Give acetaminophen or ibuprofen for systemic pain relief.

      In addition, if the reaction continues to worsen after 24 hours post sting, a doctor’s visit may be in order. After a physical exam, physicians can prescribe treatment that is more powerful than over the counter medicines.

      I hope that’s helpful,
      @MsGreene
      C0-founder and Executive Producer, DrGreene.com

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  60. Gina

    Hello,
    I had been doing bee venom therapy in which I’ve had subcutaneous injections of venom mixed with procaine to different areas of my body for the past couple of months. Each time the amount of procaine is reduced increasing the concentration of venom. The last time I had this approximately 20-30 min afterwards my armpits, inner wrists, inner elbows & ground started to itch with reddened pinprick hives. This lasted for approximately 2 hrs & I watched carefully & it resolved. I never had any trouble breathing. My heart was racing but could be due to me panicking. I was ready to take Benadryl but never had to. I am wondering what type of reaction this is as I am a beekeeper & sometimes get stung while working in my hive.
    Thank you for your help!

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  61. Jackie Holender

    I got stung right under my eye on tuesday. It is five days later and my face is still swollen on the side where I got stung. I am wondering if this is a normal occurrence or something to be concerned about?

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  62. Steve

    I was stung by multiple yellowjackets a week ago. I initially had a localized reactions on my legs (the sites of the stings) and then later that day developed hives on my arms and legs and itching of the feet and hands. These red patches cleared up but a week later I have noticed a prickly feeling in my hands and feet and other areas, too, even on my face. It seems to come and go to some degree but I am wondering if this is a delayed reaction to the bites and

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    • It is possible to get delayed reaction to insect stings. It would be worth mentioning this to your doctor for future reference. If you are stung again, the reaction could be worse.

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  63. Rebecca larkin

    I was sitting in a chair and the bee was on my thigh, I felt a slight tickle and knew it was the bee. I smacked it off and got up. and looked at my thigh and there was a small bump on it. it doesn’t hurt only sometimes when I move or apply pressure. is this a delayed reaction?

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    • It is possible to have a delayed reaction to a bee sting. Of note, if you were stung, it’s important to remove the stinger. Use a magnifying glass (or the zoom on your phone’s camera) to get a good look at the area.

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  64. Embarrassed

    How long does the swelling last? How much does it swell up normally? Got stung on the chest 4-5 times. Starting to look like a pair of mishapen boobs. Skin feels very tight and feels like its going to split open like it is being stretched too big from the swelling. Pain is bearable with some meds, but still swelling. When will these boobs be gone?

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    • Dear Embarrassed,

      The reaction to bee (or other insect sting) is individual. This is a reaction, not an infection with a “normal” course.

      From what you describe, it sounds like a trip to the doctor is in order to see if your response needs specific treatment.

      Sorry I can’t be more specific and even sorrier that you’re going through this!

      @MsGreene

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  65. Patricia

    It is Sept.1 and I was stung by a yellow jacket on Aug. 27th. The more yellow jacket bee stings I have the more pain and side effects I am experiencing. With this particular sting, I had severe pain , (which is usual) swelling (usual) and a hard knot (new) that is still painful to touch. The knot is where I was stung and is hard and painful to touch still.
    Should I have this lanced? To me this is strange and new. My doctor previously told me I may have more serious side effects in the future whenever I am stung by a yellow jacket. I wonder…

    I’m concerned about the painful hard knot that is still present.

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    • When people have new or more intense reactions to insect stings, it’s wise to see a doctor. While there, it would be consider discussing the possibility of carrying a Epipen.

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  66. Adam

    Today at work, I was stung right in my butt hole. I think a Bee worked its way into my underwear while I was bending over and picking up debris. It felt like somebody stuck in ice pick up my butt. Now I’m facing a burning pain right in my butt hole. I’ve never had pain like this in my butt hole before and I’m scared To poop. What is the best way to monitor an allergic reaction in my butt hole?

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    • The tissue in that area is very sensitive. It would probably be wise to see a doctor.

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  67. Kristine

    hi I got stung by a bee and I was playing with my friends and I got stung by a bee on my arm it has little bumps around it and it’s swollen and it’s bleeding a lot and it hurts like real bad and I know I don’t have this stinger in it because my sister had got it out and yeah I got like about 5 bumps around my arm maybe ten yes I have 10 bumps on me.

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  68. Alyssa

    Hi! I was sitting at a picnic table outside at work yesterday around lunchtime and (I’m assuming it was a wasp as I had seen one flying around shortly before I got stung) anyways, I got stung on the inside of my left knee. Today, the redness and swelling has gotten much larger in size and covering more surface area (6-8inches by 4 or 5 inches). I went to urgent care today and the doctor seemed to think I had a secondary infection (due to redness, warmth to touch, and swelling) to which he prescribed an antibiotic and Prednisone. I my only thing is, I have a HUGE phobia of throwing up and I have heard and read some things about wasp stings causing nausea or vominiting and I’m curious if I’m in the clear? Like if it was going to happen, would it have already happened? Thank you in advance! I know it seems so silly. But I’m freaking out!! Any help would be great!

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  69. Sheryl

    Hi. I got stung yesterday by what I think was a wasp. I didn’t see it but felt the pain as I picked up a branch that was in my driveway, . This was 12 hours ago and whatever did it has my right hand stinging and swollen to where I have problems bending a couple of fingers. Of course this would be the hand that I write with. I don’t know what to do . The swelling hasn’t gotten any worse but the pain is still with me. Should I go to an Urgent Care or just let it go? I had to call off work today

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    • Msureen

      I got stung by a bee yesterday in my arm and it itches today is that normal it’s a little swollen and fells warm to the Touch ID this normal or do I have to worry that something is wrong

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      • Delayed reactions to bee stings can be normal.

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  70. Glenda Rider

    On July 23, 2016 I was stung by a bee in my left cheek as I slept. I probably felt its presence and swatted it away which caused it to sting. I immediately got info on line to put a poultice of baking soda and vinegar as well as intermittent ice. I saw no stinger. My severe reaction did not occur until the following day when that side of my face blew up and the jowl area hung as if I had had a stroke. Since it was a weekend, I went to a doctor the following Monday and obviously I had had a severe reaction. On her instructions, I sat for five plus days icing the area for 20 min. every hour as well as using a cortisone cream on the area and taking Allegra in the am and Benedryl in the pm. I still felt a hardness as if a pea was under the skin and a “rope” under the skin going toward the jowl area. It has much improved but now a month later I still feel that small “pea” under the site of the sting and that feeling of thickness like a “rope” under the skin. My jowl area is still swollen and feels hard. Could there still be venom there or could there still be stinger under the skin. Originally the doctor had said she doubted there was a stinger or if so it would have worked its way out. Again, this is over a month and not back to normal.

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  71. Amber

    My 8 year old niece was stung twice yesterday at camp by Yellow Jackets. She was fine then, but her lips started swelling up a couple hours ago. Could this be from the stings (In the leg)?

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    • Insect stings can have local as well as systemic reactions. There can also be immediate and delayed reactions.

      Whenever there is swelling of the lips, it’s important to monitor to make sure there isn’t swelling of the throat and airway constriction.

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  72. L

    While mowing the yard on Wednesday, I was stung on my butt by something. I didn’t see it and kept mowing. It felt as if I was stung a second time. I came in the house and noticed a swelling in the area where I felt the sting but also in a spot lower. This morning I noticed a bruising around the site. The bruising got worse by the end of the day and I can see what looks like the sting site in the middle of the bruise. The whole area is still very itchy and it feels a little hard where the bruise is located. Should I go to the doctor?

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  73. Kristi

    Hi. I was stung in my mouth (it was in my drink straw) by a honey bee 5 days ago. I immediately developed an intensely sore throat and now have a full blown upper respiratory infection (head congestion, swollen glands, throat still sore, chest cold…). No symptons before the sting. Can this reaction happen from a bee sting or is it coincidental timing I got sick? Thank you, Kristi

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    • A bee sting, especially in the mouth can cause congestion. The good news is, there are medicines that can help. Beyond that, whenever there are breathing difficulties after a bee sting, it’s wise to seek medical help.

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  74. Robyn Barber

    Hi there. I was watering our vegetable garden and I was stung by what I think was a black wasp. I’ve only been stung 2 other times, both times by bees, so I’m not sure if I’m allergic. I carry epi-pens on me because I have reactions to food sometimes. My throat and tongue start to feel swollen and tingly. I had the same reaction, swollen, tingly throat, as well as feeling light-headed, about 30 minutes after being stung. I took a benadryl and washed off my foot. I seem to be feeling a bit better now, but is this something to schedule an appointment for?

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    • Robyn,

      It would be wise to discuss this with your doctor. A phone call may be all that’s needed.

      Best,
      @MsGreene

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  75. Lary

    I was stung by multiple bees yesterday (neck, back, finger, left wrist, right arm) after mistakenly unsettling a yellow jacket nest. I’m not allergic and I’m not having any allergic type reactions. My only concern is the area around the sting on my left wrist. The area is becoming very red (rash like) and is slowly moving up my forearm. The reddish area is also tender to the touch.

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    • Lary,

      That sounds very painful. I’m glad you’re not having systemic reactions, but local reactions can be cause for concern, as well — particularly if they are growing. Sounds like it would be smart to have it checked out by a physician.

      Best,
      @MsGreene

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  76. Heather Ramos

    I was swimming in my Aunt’s pool during the day and the moment I landed in the water there was a bee. The second I came out the water began to lift my arm to begin swimming, the bee saw me and stung my arm. My arm went into pain and I pushed it underwater and then went to the ledge to check out why. I noticed the back of the bee’s butt was in my arm with the stinger and the bee was spinning circles in the pool water. My arm got really red and itchy. I had a rash and it was hot, not burning, but when you touched it, it was quite warm. That thankfully went away, but I got a hole in my arm that went quite deep in my arm from where the bee stung me. There was puss inside of it the second day after of my bee sting and I put some Neosporin on it and called it a day. Well it’s been a week and my arm was itchy and my body reacted to itching it and I peeled the scab off. I look at my arm and the hole has seemed to grow deeper down. What is going on? I this an allergic reaction or has it turned into a staph infection now?

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    • It’s worth having a doctor look at it to determine if it might be infected. We’ve been getting a lot of reports of bad reactions at the cite of a bee stings this year.

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  77. Louise

    I was stung by something on Sunday. The sting site is red, very hot, itchy, hard to the touch and 8 inches in diameter. Neither hydrocortisone cream nor 50mg of benadryl every 4 hours is helping. Site is still growing. Any suggestions?

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    • Sounds like you should see your physician. He or she may want to prescribe an EpiPen for possible future stings as well as treat this nasty sounding one.

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  78. Robyn May

    I got stung by one yellow jacket on the ankle 10 days ago. It hurt and was itchy for a few days then seemed to get better. I woke up yesterday and the bite site was extremely itchy, there was minor swelling and a red circle about 3 inches in diameter. Its the same today. I have been using an ice pack regularly. What can I do to alleviate my symptoms.

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  79. Rachel

    About ten days ago, I was stung 3-4 times on the head by bees after walking close to a hive on a hike. At the time, I was feverish and coughing but took a good dose of oral antihistamines and applied a cream to the sites as best as possible. After 24 hours, I developed a large lump on the back of my head, the lymph node in the back of my neck became prominent and I developed a headache. The headache lasted for 3 days. I saw my doctor who said the lump was nothing and if it hadn’t gone down in a month to go back. For the last three days, I’ve had nausea, abdo pain, intermittent diarrhoea and felt generally unwell. Loss of appetite and during one day, was unable to produce urine bit that has since resolved although still feel unwell. Can this all possibly be from bee stings??

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    • Kim

      Encephalitis can occur as a result of stings and all your symptoms sound like u need an er visit.

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  80. Barb

    Hi I was mowed over a ground hive of yellow jackets this evening. I wad stung on my feet & hands both! My left foot got it the worst. I still don’t really know how many times I was stung for sure. It was excruciating! I hurt far worse than any sting I’ve ever come close to in my 48 years! First I ran my feet under very cold water…J couldn’t stand the pain. A friend told us to try vinegar and that too was painful. Finally I made a baking soda paste end it seemed to help a little. Since then I have been putting ice on it every 15 minutes but now I have hours later I am still in a lot of pain and can hardly walk on it. It’s swelled up and red. My breathing and everything else seems normal I’m concerned with how much pain I’m still experiencing. It almost feels like I’ve broken my foot! It hurts that bad!. Is this normal? If it is and how long before I should expect to find some relief?

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    • Barb,

      With this level of pain, going to an ER for treatment may be wise.

      It seems to be a very bad year for stinging insects. Sorry you’re part of that.

      Best,
      @MsGreene

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  81. James

    I got stung by something a 2 days ago, that I didn’t see. I ripped the stinger out and it looked like a honeybee stinger (small curved thorn looking thing) from looking on-line. When I got home I had some local pain and a little redness but nothing more. I put ice on it for a few minutes every 15 mins. for an hour and 1/2.

    After 24 hrs the soreness had went away but the site was red in the area I guess the venom was injected. After about 48 hrs. most of the numbness was gone from site except on the red area. Also, a new line of red or light brown (can’t tell) is appearing and am hoping that it’s just the cut from ripping out the stinger.

    I was wondering though, the red area that is kind a numb also feels kind a hard nut not swollen, in your professional opinion is all this normal and about how long will it take to fully heal/get back to normal?

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  82. Carolina

    I was stung while on vacation in Jamaica this past Wednesday. Like many other people on this string, it was mildly irritating at the time. The stinger seemed to come out easily an intact, so I wasn’t worried. I did put a mustard poultice overnight. Yesterday (Friday), it became swollen and itchy. It’s right on my knuckle, and the joint feels stiff and off. So the real question I have is is this something to worry over? No one commenting noted what happened over time. Knuckles seem to be a popular target for bees. Is there a possibility of some type of joint deterioration? Is there anything to be done (this been asked by almost everyone and I’m not seeing anything to do when there isn’t any anaphalactic symptoms taking place.

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    • Sara

      I have the same issue. Swelling on knuckle around a week after the sting . Did you go to the doctor?

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  83. corrina

    I was stung by a sweat bee, while in a pool. I never felt it bite. However, I began to get dizzy, my body felt like the life was sucked out of me, almost as if I couldn’t walk or lift any arms. The emergency room gave me a shot of benedryl, a shot of a steroid, and an iv water drip. I felt much better. I was prescribed an epipen. Should I worry about a having a delayed reacation?

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    • Sherri

      I was stung yesterday don’t know what stung me, i got a headache, nausea, very blurry vision, I got hot and dizzy and felt like I was gonna pass out. Are these all symptoms of a bee sting?

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      • Sherri,

        The things you describe can be symptoms of a bee sting. It’s what’s called a toxic reaction. As Dr. Greene says:

        “A fourth type of immediate reaction is the toxic reaction, which can follow multiple stings. This is a direct result of bee venom, and not an allergic reaction. Symptoms can include fever, weakness, nausea, vomiting, and pain. Toxic bee sting reactions are rarely serious, but do sometimes sensitize the child and herald future allergic reactions.”

        I hope that’s helpful,
        @MsGreene

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  84. Jennifer

    I was stung between 10-15 times 48 hours ago by yellow jackets. They have been very ichy since and just this evening the one on my inner thigh, where I have protruding veins, is now a red rash and extremely ichy. Should I be concerned?

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  85. Carmen

    I was stung by a wasp yesterday and when i noticed that it was going to continue the sting and saw several others i ran inside. The pain from the sting was intense. Today, my forearm close to the elbow (area where i was stung) is red, swollen and warm to the touch and it itches immensely. What should i do?

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  86. David

    I’m a beekeeper and I get stung regularly as I work without gear. I get stung occasionally but have no reaction at all except maybe every 20th time. Then I get the swelling and itching. I’ve been stung up to 6/7 times at once with no reaction and then a single sting will cause a reaction. I live in the foothills where they gather nectar and pollen from poison oak and I often wonder is it what they eat that causes that once in a while reaction.

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    • Very interesting observation. Does anyone else have a similar experience?

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    • Amber

      I was driving down the road two days ago and something flew in and hit my hair so I swipe it out and it fell I thought to my shirt so I wen to grab it without looking since I was driving and it felt like a needle jab in my hand I immediately slung my hand towards the floor without thinking then pulled over and looked and floor and found nothing. I had no redness or swelling nor burning or itchiness like I recall a sting feeling like and today that spot is still a little sore. I am wondering if this could have been a sting? it was late evening so hoping not a small bat, tho I am sure I would’ve noticed the width of a bat in my hand or when I swiped my hair. the only weird thing is you would think if I knocked it from my hair that a bee or wasp would fly off not just fall to my shirt and stay. less it hit my head and fell to my shirt but i’m quite certain I felt it when I ran fingers through my hair.

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      • Hi Amber,

        Paying attention first to your driving is very smart. Good thinking.

        I do not think something the size of an insect could be a bat. If anyone knows of a bat that size, please speak up, but I don’t think that’s an issue.

        Best,
        @MsGreene
        Co-founder and Executive Producer, DrGreene.com

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  87. chris

    Just wondering…why does dr greene answer only a few comments….was really after a explanation for my comment that i wrote last night…thanks ☺

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    • Hi Chris,

      As an explanation — we started this site in 1995. Believe it or not, at that time there was very little medical information available for patients. Most people had to visit their doctor to get even basic information. Since that time, Dr. Greene has answered representative questions from readers, but he has never been able to keep up with the constant stream of questions. Our hope is people can find what they are looking for in his lengthy answers that he does post.

      We continue to allow people to post comments and questions here and hope that even if he doesn’t answer a specific question, other readers might respond with an answer.

      We wish he had time to answer every question. Each one represents a real need. We sincerely hope what he does provide is of value to many.

      Best,
      @MsGreene
      Co-founder & Executive Producer, DrGreene.com

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  88. chris

    I got stung by something on my finger 3 yrs ago…worst pain..ache..finger tip at bite sight went numb..nerve damage to finger..veins were tracking a week later in my wrist…went through to my lymph nodes under my arm..then heart palpitations for a week! Went to 3 drs…2 weeks of antibiotics and nothing helped…every yr now on my hand my fingers go numb and have pain up my arm and wrist! Have gad xrays..nothing has ever shown up…it is very annoying and can still be quite painful. ..any ideas…im over it!!!

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    • J. Godfrey

      Ouch! That’s Gotta hurt! I was stung yesterday on middle finger right hand, when an insect got entangled in my hair and I went to remove it. The thing that stung me fell at my feet but not an insect I recognise; wasp-like, but black. Pulled the sting out and sucked and spat the poison away (a lot of it) & put vinegar on the site to calm it. I was fine though till about 8 hours later when suddenly I came over faint & drowsy and lips swelled up. Urgency to use the loo in the night X 5 which makes me think may now have nephritis. Went to Drs today and blood pressure up but nil of note apart from I can still taste the sting’s taste periodically in my mouth which leads me to conclude that (like rabbit meat enzymes which circulate), my body can’t get rid of it. Still dizzy and have to force myself to eat right now and also drinking like crzy but hardly any loo visits.

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  89. julie potts

    I had a bee sting during a music festival approx 8- 10 hours later i was woken with stomach cramps. I experienced sudden severe diarrhoea and expulsive vomiting during which i fainted. i felt very unwell. but recovered within an hour but was lefty feeling queezy and shaken for a day or two afterwards.
    could this be related to the sting ? or a coincidental gastroenteritis?

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    • Hi Julie,

      From your description, it’s hard to know. Certainly we’ve been getting a lot of reports of intense, late on-set, bee sting reaction.

      This is probably worth discussing with your doctor who may recommend you carry an epipen in case of future bee stings.

      Hope you’re feeling better now.

      Best,
      MsGreene
      Co-founder and Executive Producer, DrGreene.com

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  90. Mike

    I got stung by a bee or a wasp 3 days ago on my forearm, and now the swollen area has gone as far as my elbow and down to my fingers. I had discomfort last night and was unable to sleep. the discomfort has subsided a bit since last night. I’m not sure what kind of bee or wasp it was because once I realized I was getting stung by a bee and not a bitten by a horse fly I hauled ass down the rock slope where I was located. I must have disturbed their nest in the ground.. may go to the doctor tomorrow..

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    • Crystal

      The same thing happened to me 2 nights ago ! I was stung on my forearm and on my side – the side sting is like how I remember it ( stung on my hip last spring ) annoying super itchy but otherwise ok – the forearm was super painful! Kept going numb all night and swollen around my wrist – the swelling traveled onto the top of my hand and all the way to my elbow – sore and itchy … I can breathe ok – but making me nervous if it keeps traveling up my arm ( left arm) did you go to the doctor ? Or was it ok ? I’ve taken Benadryl , done baking soda lavender water paste – homeopathic bee sting – icing feels nice and helps … Very swollen still … Saw the beekeepers comment above about the bees that feed on poison oak etc … Wonder if this has some warrant given I’ve never had a reaction like this one before – I also keep bees – usually don’t get stung- such a bummer across the board

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  91. Sheila

    Dr. Greene, I was stung last nite on my pinky toe by what I believe was a red wasp. Since it was dark it didn’t see it, just felt a burning stab & excruciating pain for several hours. Taking Benadryl & ibuprofen. My concern is that the redness and swelling has traveled from the middle of foot to my lower leg. It also feels hot to the touch. Was stung on back 2 yrs ago & just felt pain . I take 2 different RX’s for RA, therefore have a compromised immune system. Is this normal??

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  92. diane

    my husband got a yellow jacket bite on the cheek a week ago it was fine until today it swelled up really big what to do

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  93. Mikayla

    My daughter was stung by a honey bee and it been swollen for 11 hours what do i do

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    • Marci

      I got stung today too. I will offer this suggestion based on a suggestion given by ER nurse friend in early 1980s when my sis was bitten/stung by scorpion and serious swelling set in. We lived too far from hosptal and no car at home at the time.

      1. Remove stinger.
      2. Wash gently with soap and water.
      3. Apply hydrocortisone cream. Also, you can add Goldbond lidocaine gel, Benadryl cream.
      4. Give her oral dose of Benadryl or antihistamine.
      If you’ve done these obvious things, proceed to next…
      Make a thick paste of Adolph’s meat tenderizer and water. Put it on the affected area and cover with guaze or large bandage.
      If ever she has trouble breathing, fever, or other uncontrollable symptoms, take her to ER. Hope this helps.

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  94. Tierney Frey

    I think I was stung by a bee earlier…I knocked it away so quick that I’m not sure if it was a bee or wasp. There was some itching, swelling and redness, but I cleaned the area and took some antihistamine and everything went away. But the problem now is that my entire arm hurts, not just the sting area…is this normal?

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  95. Cass C.

    I was stung on my middle foot’s toe x 2 weeks ago, bee or wasp? i believe it was killed and i stepped on the stinger thinking i stepped on broken glass. I got sick following week, dx with pyelonephritis, possibly due to an overlooked UTI. Today I woke up with that same toe swollen and itchy again, as the initial sting… is this normal?

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  96. Oran Aviv

    Thanks so much for this very clear info explaining what is an allergic reaction. I was concerned that I may have become allergic to bee stings after having a rash all over my back after being stung on my back. I’m feeling more calm now! Thanks.
    BTW – I was stung while running. Is it possible that physical activity after being stung could have caused this larger local reaction?

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  97. Catherine S.

    Hi, I was stung once, maybe twice (sting marks so tiny) by a dark colored wasp this past Sunday on joint of my right pinky finger It hurt instantly, swelled a tiny bit and hand ached for maybe 4 or 5 hours. Wasn’t somewhere I could get ice. Next day, Monday, no swelling, sting site barely a red dot. But used right hand to open a jar and to pick up something a little heavy, it hurt like I’d sprained it. Also, all day Monday and now early Tuesday morning queasy stomach, loose stool, minor cramping, slight nausea. Related to sting? Or coincidence? I was stung by a bee 40 years ago, and then again 15 years ago. No bad reaction that I can remember.

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  98. Brandy

    I was pulling weeds in my lawn yesterday around 4 pm and was stung many times. So many times that I lost count. I had to remove my clothes because the bees were all over me and inside my clothes. I felt fine outside the pain. I sat down about 5 minutes and got up to go to restroom. I started feeling weak and everything started to get dark and extreme headache. Well I pasted out. My children picked me up and put me in bed. Called 911. They talked to me and said I was in shock. It took an hour or so for the darkness in my eyes to go away. It is now 1:15am the following day and I feel nauseous, severe headache that is keeping me awake and the areas of sting are getting larger. I’m not sure what to do.

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    • Emily Doyle

      Dear Dr. Greene,
      Have you ever heard of a long term effect bee stings, like low energy levels, and depression? About a month ago, I was stung at least 6 times by carpenter bees out in my garden. There was mild pain and itchy reaction to the stings that healed quickly, but since then, I haven’t felt the same mentally. I have little interest in doing anything, and really have to push myself to keep up with my daily routine.

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  99. Pam

    I’m 60 & got stung by a yellow jacket. It stung my left temple, by my eye. Within 10 minutes I was itching all over, my heart rate was rapid, I felt weak & nauseated. Within 30 minutes my whole body was covered in hive. I was far away from help, hiking and had to keep going to get back to my vehicle. I finally found some outdated Claritin & took 2. After a few hours the hives left, but the heart rate didn’t subside until I lay down for bed.

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  100. Chris

    I was riding my motorcycle and got hit in the throat between my callor bones and had instant burning in my entire chest. I found a stinger on my shoulder when I removed my shirt. But am uncertain what type of bee it was to of stung me. Now two days later the sting spot has doubled in size and has a lot of heat

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  101. susan Nash

    Got stung by a wasp on the top of my left hand. The pain traveled up my arm into my shoulder and now I have pain in my shoulder and can’t hardly move it. What do I do?

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    • Sounds like it’s time to see a doctor. If you can call tonight, do and ask if your doctor thinks it can wait until morning. If you can’t get through by phone, head on over to the ER. You don’t want to risk missing an allergic reaction.

      Hope that helps,
      @MsGreene

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  102. Kim Staake

    My son is 4 he got stung by wasp on wednesday night next to his ear on side of face by thursday afternoon his neck and side of face down to chin was swollen and warm to touch and was running fever I gave him benedryl and tylenol friday night his fever was 102 and hes vomiting .

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    • Kim,

      Ouch and sorry you’re (both) going through this.

      With a fever of 102, it’s important to call your doctor. When the fever comes after the sting, it could be infected.

      Hope that helps,
      @MsGreene

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    • Susan condit

      Why are all these people asking a website about their childrens stings and not going to a hospital immediately. Who would risk thir childrens or this own lives by not calling 911 and just typing into a website instead?

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  103. Sabrina

    I got bit about 2 wks ago on my thumb it burned really bad I remember pulling a black thin look stick out of my thumb it burned and itched right away now today it’s swollen and itching and it looks like I may have fluid or something in there the bite mark is like a lil ball on my thumb should I be worried ? Or just let it pass

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    • Danielle Ryncavage

      Sabrina,

      Same here I got stung on my thumb yesterday and it is so swollen, red, itchy and hot. I have no other symptoms!!! How did you make out????

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  104. Kim

    On Saterday after noon I was stung on my left arm by what I think was a sweat bee. I was at the ball field and didn’t have ice but had a cold can of coke. I placed the can against my arm. It swelled up right away. By that evening it began to bruise. The bruise was about two inches in diameter. Sunday the bruise was darker in color. On Tuesday morning I woke up and my right foot and leg were numb. Almost like it was asleep but without the tingling. My foot could not feel hot or cold. Wednesday I have nerve sensitivity on my left side and my foot and leg are the same as the day before. Could there be a connection between the two due to the bee sting?

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    • yvette

      Was this temporary? I am experiencing these symptoms wks after sting. Cannot get any help.

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  105. Debbie Cenicceroz

    Hi my son got stung by a bee yesterday on top of his hand. We took the stinger out and this morning he woke up with his hand swollen. What can I do? or What should I do?

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  106. Abraham Turany

    please e-mail me an answer to my question. In 2005, I was stung in the face by a bald-faced hornet, and was rushed to the emergency room after showing symptoms of being allergic. Today I was stung by what looked like a honey bee (I stepped on it), and took benedryl, but showed not alergic reaction/symptoms. Why didn’t I have any reaction?

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  107. Linda Lou

    This has been going on for 20+ yrs….every time I get stung by any type of bee, between four and six hrs later the venom is going to the nearest bone to the sting area causing swelling and severe pain(feels like a very deep ache) making it very difficult to move. At this point, the bone hurts so bad that I can’t even touch it. This will last anywhere from 12 hrs or up to a few days. Then within 24 hrs of the sting, a huge red rash occurs starting from the sting area and expands to the bone that the venom has went to and starts intensely itching. The bone is still very tender at this point and the only way to describe it is feels like a pain deep within the bone. It usually takes a few weeks for all of this to subside. Please tell me what this could be!

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    • Kristin

      This also happens to me to! I wasn’t sure if I should seek medical attention…..

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    • Maria

      Wow, I got stung on my right cheekbone just under my eye a few weeks ago and got the usual red swelling and lots of pain, took antihistamines and used ice packs but it took almost a week for it to go down. About 10 days ago I started feeling stuffy and painful along my cheekbones and nasal passages including my right jaw just in front of my ear, thought it was sinusitis but just a few days ago, I was in the emergency room of the hospital waiting to be seen for an unrelated issue when the right side of my face started to itch all over. It hadn’t occurred to me until yesterday that it might be a very delayed reaction to the sting. After reading your comment here, it kind of makes sense.

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      • Maria

        Forgot to add that I’ve had xrays and an MRI to check on this bone pain in my head and they were both clear plus my ear shows no infection at all. So what is the reason for all the pain I am suffering?? Could it be a delayed reaction to a bee sting???

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  108. Kim Middleton

    My son age 9 stung likely by wasp on cheek, thumb, and forearm. I think it was a wasp because no stinger was left behind. We washed the stung areas including fingers (not stung) to reduce the likelihood of infection by virus, bacteria. Made sure his fingernails were cut short in case he scratched the area. This was important to clean the sting, in case it was a yellow jacket (those insects tend to like roadkill). We applied some hydrogen peroxide, then Sting medicine, then Neosporin, and then cortisone 1%. Next we gave him a Benadryl (good for 4 hours.) Applied Ice. After 4 hours passed, he is still swollen. Gave him a Claritin (good for 24 hours). After 4 more hours, swelling did not go down. Did not have vomiting, no swelling of throat, no nausea; otherwise we would have taken him to the ER. So, we are going to take him to the doctor (he woke up still swollen) to see if we need to continue what we are doing or if he needs a shot of a stronger cortisone/epi-pen. When he gets stung, sometimes the reaction is mild at first and then a few days later, the reaction is very pronounced.

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    • Deena

      I got stung twice on the face last season by our honey Bees and my face swelled up like two face from batman. I was pregnant so I went to the Dr to make sure. She said as long as I could breath good just keep putting hydrocortisone cream on it. And apply ice every couple hours. If my throat started swelling go to the emergency room or call 911. I was swelled for about two weeks. It sucked but it ended up going down.

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  109. Miles

    Dear Doctor Alan

    There is something I’ve always wondered. I got stung by a bee around 6 years ago on my chest and I still have a skin colored lump on my chest. Is this anything serious and/or will it ever go away?

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  110. Avis

    Dear Dr. Greene,

    I was stung by over 60 bees a week ago. Arms, face , neck…. Was taken to the doctor about half an hour later. B/4 leaving, had rub lavender essential oil where most of the stingers were…. But of course I missed some. The stingers were still on my arms, but there were no swelling nor itching where I managed to rub the oil. I was disoriented by the time the Dr. saw me. He started IV, and the stingers were removed. During all this I was told I was talking normally, tho I cannot remember anything except throwing up.
    Spent approximately five hours at the private clinic, where, I was told, had a fever, and my heart rate was not normal. One week later, most of the swelling and itching …gone. However I still have red spots. Have been using Raw honey on these areas and it is working. I was also given medication to be taken every 12 hours.
    My question is…what is the long term effect of being stung by so many bees? I am 73 yours old with no medical problems
    Thank you

    PS. My dog, an old pit bull, was also stung by countless bees at the same time. He was given the same medication I got…. He is eating normally and walking around normally.

    PPS Must mention, I was feeling off for days and my appetite , as I would say, went slack. Getting back to normal

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  111. Raziel

    Hi I was stung by a bee on the top of my head it’s my first time being stung by a bee it didn’t hurt much at all felt like a little prick almost I removed the stinger this happened at around 4 in the afternoon its now 11:57 and I feel fine we’ll just a little weak is this normal ? my head isn’t swollen by the way.

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    • channy

      I also feel weak was stung at 12:30 pm and is now nesrly 6:30

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  112. Matt

    Hi Dr Greene,
    Thanks for the article. I.ve been stinging myself with venom for lyme disease type of issues. Many report great success as it builds up the immune system.

    Initially, when I started with the injections. “Tiny amount” I experienced quite an intense reaction. Massive swelling, itching etc. This occurred each time for the first 4 injections, 3 days apart. I was told this was a good sign and most with a compromised immune system take weeks to months before they start experiencing these type of reactions.

    Well, I stopped the treatment after the 4th injection- approx two weeks total duration. The itching and swelling was a lil much.

    I genuinely felt better for a few months, and my nagging issues- fatigue, depression, joint pain, low libido appeared to be on the mend. Something only abx has been able to help with in the past.

    Fast forward 3 months later and felt things slipping so I broke out the bee venom and started the injections. Well now I hardly react. I.ve increased the dosage 5 fold and still barely any reaction. Tiny swelling, little bit of itch. Gone In a day. I even mixed a fresh vial and same small reaction.

    Do you think my immune system is getting better or worse? I know experienced bee keepers don’t feel anything after getting stung so many times. But it seems odd that I could graduate to that class after only 4 sting injections. And the fact that I can feel myself slipping with this infection confuses my assesment as to whether or not my immune system is working optimally

    Please share your thoughts. Thanks so much,
    Matt

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  113. Nathan C.

    Hello Dr. Greene.
    I had a wasp crawl up my pant leg and sting me repeatedly in my leg around December of last year. It swelled slightly and burned and turned red but other than itching and some slight discomfort, all symptoms went away within 48hrs. Fast forward to 3 weeks ago, my skin has broken out in thick dry raised blotchy itchy patches in the same area I was stung. The only cause of this new skin condition is the stinging incident. It has been at least 90 days. Is it possible that I am still experiencing symptoms from the stinging?

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  114. Lexi

    I was stung by a yellow jacket last night around 9 or 10 p.m. and I didn’t feel sick. When I woke up this morning and I was slightly nauseous but then I went away. When I came to school I was fine but then halfway through first period I felt like I was going to be sick and I still feel that way. As far as I know I’m not allergic to bees but I’m dizzy and feel nauseous and I don’t know why. Any ideas?

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    • Lexi

      And I’m starting develope a migraine as well.

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    • Allergies can start at any point in life. This might be your first occurrence of a new allergy.

      It would be wise to be checked by a physician. If it is a new onset of an allergy, you’ll want to be prepared for the next sting.

      Hope that helps,
      @MsGreene

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  115. Kristi

    My son was stung on his foot and didn’t tell me for 2 days. It started hurting one night after we went for a walk and when I looked it had a blister-like bubble with a red streak and his foot was purple around the sting! The dr found the lymph nodes in his groin were swollen and tender as well and treated him with steroids and antibiotics.

    He was stung again a year and a half to two years later on his finger tip in the evening and by that next morning he was in pain and his arm was swollen, red and lymph nodes were swollen again. This time the reaction went from 2-3 days to 12 hours. Again we treated with steroids and he was fine. I just worry his reactions could get worse.

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    • Kristi,

      Bee sting reactions can get worse after repeated exposure. It’s wise to consult your doctor about the need to carry an Epipen (by prescription only) and have a plan for future stings.

      Hope that helps,
      @MsGreene

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  116. nathan

    I was cleaning out the kids pool and stepped on the grass next too it and stepped on a bee it took me about a min too get the sting out of the join between my big toe and my foot . I have stepped on numourous bees before and have never swollen before a day after my foot is still swollen and really itchy how normal is this ?
    Is it because of the spot i was stung ??
    I know it was a bee because of the stinger i pulled out .

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  117. Dj

    I was stung the other day while kayaking and immediately had a small lump it went away 10 minutes later but 3 days later I have a large red circle that is extremely itchy and a smaller darker red circle inside it. These are also quite stiff. I haven’t been allergic before. Does this mean I am allergic? how long will this last?

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    • Kimberly Peterson

      I got stung by something and I got fever and throwing up been really sick from it don’t know if a bee stong me or by mosquito but I know I am allergic to some kind a bee

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  118. Jan

    I was stung by a bee a couple of weeks ago on my left palm about an inch below my ring finger joint. It didn’t swell much, but a few days later it began to itch tremendously and continued for about a week. Now the knuckle and entire finger hurt; it hurts to use it or make a fist. First thing in the morning it is very stiff and hurts the most. Is this neuritis, and will it go away? Is there anything I should do to treat it?

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    • margie

      Same thing happened to me 6 days ago except it was on my right hand, middle finger. Yesterday I got severe itching and woke up with hand too swollen to use. I’d love to know how you treated yours. Did you see a dr? Thanks

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      • Christina Ortiz

        Hello, I experienced my first bee sting today. At the age of 38, I can’t believe that it’s my first time….it didn’t hurt much when it happened, burned for about an hour after, then I actually forgot about it…but 5 hours later….my entire forearm is so sore and can barely move my wrist. I believe I’m in the same pain you had. What did you do and for how long did it last??

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  119. jeff

    I was stung in the neck behind the ear by a bee, my gues is it was Africanized because it started trying to sting me after it lost its stinger. Neck swelled up for 3 days then i got sick. Been sick for 3 days now. Wasnt allergic to bee’s in the past. Is this normal?

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    • jeff

      And can my 1 month old baby get sick from it

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  120. Haley

    I got sting by a bee 4 days ago on the top of my foot. It swelled up really big on the 2nd and 3rd day. Its now going down, but my foot is still purple and red all over. In wondering what I should do? Thanks

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    • Taylor

      I have gotten stung 4 days ago too. And I’m done with it! It I he’s and is red and it’s on the bottom part of my foot, so I have to walk on it! It hurts so bad and looking it up is no help! ???

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      • We’re hearing increasing reports of severe bee sting reactions. If it continues, consider seeing a doctor.

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  121. Bonny Hillebert

    I was stung by 3 wasps (at least) – one on the abdomen and 2 on my right lower arm. Used charcoal poultices for first 12 hrs. or so, and the pain was relieved, and most of redness was gone.

    This happened about the first part of Aug. About 36 hrs. later, I started getting an intense itch at those sites, and then swelling and redness. Scratching made it worse. I tried the charcoal poultice again, and it didn’t work. Then I took Vit. C powder in water in case it was an allergic reaction, and repeated it 4 hrs. later and the itching and swelling and redness subsided.

    Now, for the past month, I’ve been experiencing hives cropping out almost every day in some warm spot on my body such as groins, inner thighs, arms, under arms. Tea tree oil application helps the intense itch and swelling, and drinking water sometimes helps. Once in awhile I have to use the Vit. C powder which give almost immediate relief.

    Is it possible this is from the wasp stings, still? The hives first start with redness and itching, and get worse if I scratch the area without thinking. The hives occur at sights other than the original wasp sting sights. I’ve never had any hives below mid-thigh, and seldom on my chest. One night I woke up with an intense itching on my back, but that has happened only once. It happens mostly in the groin and inner thigh areas and belt and bra lines. Once in a while I don’t have any symptoms for a whole 24 hr. period of time. Any suggestions?

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    • Heidipr1

      Have you found anything out? My husband is having the exact same issue.

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  122. Pete

    2 stings within a couple of weeks of each other, about 2 weeks later mouth sores, swollen ears, itchy ears and eyebrows, nose and forehead rash. Symptoms lasted about 2weeks. Doctor did viral and bacterial cultures – all negative. This also happened about 2 years ago after 2 stings on the neck within 2 days of each other. Serum sickness? How can I avoid this in the future?

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  123. Sandi

    2 weeks ago I was stung over 20 times by ground wasps. Pain, swelling and itching lasted over 4 days then subsided. ER prescribed several meds,none of which helped. However, now two weeks later I have a constant headache and severe lethargy. Could the toxin still be in my body, for how long, is there help? Thanks.

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    • Nancy Fine

      I too (age 73) was stung approx 30 x and got stingers out but now have a mess to heal. I was wondering what this does to your immune system…..I am very healthy and an athlete and hope it does not have residual side effects….? Thanks.

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  124. Avery

    I was stung by a honey bee about 3 years ago. To this day, in that exact spot, which is in an awkward spot-in the inside of my upper arm- still occasionally a red spot appears? Than a few days later, it vanishes again? What is this..!? someone help me.

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    • Sally

      My son was stung this summer and anytime his arm gets cold the swelling starts all over. He is going to call the doctor. Please inform me if you find an answer. I too will get back if he makes appt.

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      • It would be great to know what his doctor says. Please let us know.

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    • Kari

      I am curious if you ever received an answer about your bee sting. The same thing keeps happening to my son. He was stung 4 months ago below his eye on his cheek bone. Every once in awhile he gets a red hive or spot in the same place he was stung. It is painless and does not itch. If you have any information I would love to hear about it.

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  125. Claire

    My mother in law was stung by a bee about 2 months ago. She has for the last 4weeks been smothered in hives and an itchy rash. She has been perscribed mutiple amounts of steriods, anti histamines and antibiotics. A blood test showed an infection. The rash appears in one place, causes swelling and itchiness then disappears and comes up else where on the body. Could this have been a result of the bee sting weeks before? Your help would be much appreciated. Many thanks.

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  126. terry

    Stung multiple times today dr. Counted 13 maybe a few more had severe alergic reaction never knew I was allergic prior how long should it take for venom to exit my system and dwelling to go down .

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  127. Brenda

    I was stung on my upper arm by a yellow jacket 10 days ago. Iced immediately, but the area swelled to about 3 in. in diameter and raised up. Took a week but the swelling and redness went away, think is it still itches like crazy. Expecially at night. Any suggestions?

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    • Kate

      Calimine lotion

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    • Kathy

      Benadryl

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  128. Linda K

    On August 30th I was stung 6 times by 1 or more wasps. Although it hurt a great deal, I managed to get back inside, wash the stings, take 3 Benadryl and apply hydracortizone

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  129. Lynn

    I was stung twice on the back of my left leg by a hornet three weeks ago. No anaphylaxis occurred, but I did have a “large local reaction” with an angry red rash at the first puncture site. I was in bed for 2 days with extreme pain. As of last week the rash was still present and I began to experience muscular tightness in my left upper back. On Tuesday my left lower back went out and I could barely walk by Friday.

    Fortunate to live next to an accupuncture center, I learned that my gallbladder is working overtime to push out the venom. Acupuncture, cupping, hip realignment and massage are helping. The rash is gone after an afternoon of treatment and I’m walking again. Resting and drinking warm lemon water to aid the cleansing and employing gentle yoga techniques.

    It’s important that people know that severe sting reactions do not always appear to be life threatening and that your body works systematically to rid itself of the venom. Consider a wholistic approach.

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  130. Jodi

    I was cutting my moms grass today and ran over a yellow jackets nest! One stung me on the ankle and it’s throbbing and hurting all the way up my leg! Is this normal?

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  131. Cassie

    My dad is a 58 year old honey beekeeper and has a construction company. He has been stung on several occasions without complications. About a month ago he was stung roughly 8 times on the top and back of his head. Within 5 minutes he was feeling light headed and strange, he then drove himself home(10 minutes away), when he arrived home and tried to get out of the car he was close to being completely paralyzed and fell down and couldn’t get back up. His wife yelled for the neighbor to come help get him back in the car, she then rushed him to the ER and they told them that he would have been dead within 10 minutes if he hadn’t have went in. He was there for 6 hours being monitored and then cleared to leave. He left with two EpiPens in tow. Our main concern at this point is that he still has something like paralysis in his left leg. He says it feels like it is asleep and its trying to wake up. He can only stand for a few minutes before it gives out. He also says it is very painful & tingly! Thanks for any information anyone can give me!

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  132. Deb

    So why is it that when you get stung by a ground bee the pain stays for days where as a regular bee sting lasts for minutes? With ground bees, it shoots pain through the entire area. Me for example, I got stung in the leg and the pain went through my whole leg.

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  133. Magen O.

    Hello,
    So I want to know what you guys think. A couple of years ago, around five or so, I was stung by a bee and experienced some symptoms that could lead to anaphylaxis ie: intense nausea, vomiting, cold sweats, rapid heart beat.
    I did go to the doctor to run tests around last year to see if I had a severe allergy and would need an epi-pen, but the results came back as “non-severe,” as my doctor said. I was wondering if I should get tested again, or anything else, because I will be going off to university soon where I will be hiking a lot due to the forestry. I also heard that bee stings are typically worse the second time around and I just don’t want to have worse things happen that could’ve been prevented! Thank you!

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    • Amy

      I would tell your doctor to give you an epi-pen prescription – better to be safe than sorry!!!

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  134. Jessica

    Hello all,

    Two days ago I was stung by a yellow jacket on my left side of my head right behind my ear. It got me four time before I could untangle the evil thing from my hair. Now two days later my ear feels like I have an infection and I have lumps going down my neck. I ran a fever, felt very sick to my stomach and dizzy. I hate to run to the ER for something minimal, but I’m worried I should be concerned. Any and all advice is greatly appreciated.

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  135. Jason

    Just been stung on the nose about 2hours ago can anyone give me some advice what to keep an eye out for allergic reactions? The sting has a little dot and is swollen and really painful.

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    • oracle

      Damn, that’s nasty. Worst place to be stung.

      How did it go?

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  136. Kathy

    I was stung by something 10 days ago. Got the usual itching and swelling, which is all but done now. However on about the 5-6th day I got a sore throat that felt more like a thickness at the very back of my tongue. That now seems to be easing up, but now the left half of my upper and lower lip is swollen and sore and appears to be spreading slowly to the right side. Is this bite related? Do I need to seek medical attention? The bite was on the back of the left hand below the thumb.

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    • Hi Kathy,

      I’m not a doctor, but I’m thinking it would be wise to at least call your doctor. Bee reactions seem to be on the rise. The first reaction can happen at any point in life (even if you’ve been stung before without issue). But after one reaction, the next is often worse.

      Hope that helps.
      C~

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  137. nikki

    Two days ago I was stung on my forehead by either a bee or a wasp, not sure which one. However my face, nose, and eyes are swollen. What should I do? My eye is just about closed completely.

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  138. Gaby

    I was stung by a somewhat aggressive insect (can’t tell if it was a bee, wasp etc.) around 11pm. The reaction was a slight difficulty swallowing as well as uneasiness, which occured around 30 min later. Now it’s 2:30am, the pain of the sting starts to weaken, but the swallowing thing hasn’t changed. I also started to feel very nervous, but i can’t tell wether it’s a allergic reaction, or my anxiety combined with tiredness. Should i just go to sleep or do something?
    (I appreciate an immediate answer, but i wrote this mostly because i wanted to calm down and needed a distraction)

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  139. Daniel D

    I had got stung 2.5 days ago. I’ve been reading up and here is my conclusion. I was stung by one wasp, had zero reaction. 2.5 days later I had a severe reaction. This included, vomiting, diharea, head ache. I had vomited 7 times with in the hour. I knew something was up. My mom ran me to the hospital. As luck would have it I made it to the ER before I started to go into severe shock my temp dropped to 95.7F and was severely dehydrated. Only thing I could come up with was, I had a delayed toxic reaction. I know this might not sound right but it happened.

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  140. Summer

    Hello there, it’s been well over a week since I have been stung and honestly the swelling has increased, staying only in my foot where the initial sting is, but also on top of the swollen area I have what could look like a small gnat bite or something, just a small pee thing, but it’s so itchy I am loosing my mind! I’m loosing sleep over it and I don’t know what to do, please help me!!!!

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    • Megan

      I have the same thing. One week ago I got stung in the foot and omg it itches soooo bad I cant take it. Also where I got stung is a lil bump…..any thing to do to relieve the itch?

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  141. Maggie

    hello, I was stung by a wasp almost 3 weeks ago. I had the initial pain, redness, and swelling of my hand. I still have the sting site that is red, scabbed, and extremely tender. My finger has been aching severely through the area I was stung on and it spreads through the rest of my hand, to the point I have to rub it and put pain relieving cream on it, could this be a result of the sting? Should I be worried at all?

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  142. Teresa

    2 months ago I thought I was stung by a wasp, but then it is a reoccurring thing. Have it in my hands and feet. Also numbness in right arm and feet. Can anyone give me a clue?

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    • yvette

      Was this temporary? I am experiencing the same. I cannot find anything to help.

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  143. William Rhodes

    Hi,

    I got stung by a bee a week ago – of course, my finger swelled up immediately. As you’d expect, the swelling went down after a few days – however, over the course of yesterday and today, my finger has actually become just as swollen as it was a week ago. Is this normal?

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    • Beatriz

      My son is going through the same thing except the swelling went down after a few hours when first stung. have you gotten a reply?

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    • lynda

      my husband was stung by a bee last night in his arm is extremely swollen and I have done several home made remedies but he does a history of DVT and is on coumadin is there any reason for me to take him to the ER. He did get very woozy but there was no anaphylaxis.

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  144. Rosemary McKeever

    Hi,
    I got stung by a a yellow striped Bee last week, & grabbed stinger right away. I put benedryl cream on it & it took sting away immediately. Now 5-7 days later it’s red (2″ spot) & itches profusely! What can/should I do or put on it? My brother had a history & had to take epinephrine after shots.
    Thanx a lot! The itching is bad & when I scratch it makes it worse & kinda burns too, it’s only my second time stung.

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    • Rosemary McKeever

      Sorry, after stings. ?

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  145. Theresa

    My husband was stung multiple times by yellow jackets. Approximately 1-2 weeks later, he has been experiencing severe pain on his right side, (shoulder blade, arm, elbow, mid back), the pain goes from one area to another. the side where he was bitten. Also on his right side where he was bitten, his skin is a bit reddish. Can these pains be a result of the bee stings?

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  146. alisha

    Hi I’m 25 weeks pregnant and i got stung on my hand by a bee. Now my whole hand is swollen. What can I do to stop swelling? Will my baby be ok?

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    • MaryAnne Cristodero

      my daughter was stung by a bee or similar bug and says she took the stinger out (she is 6)
      her hand was red and swollen at the time…
      it is now a week later and it is swollen and red!

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  147. rheannon

    hi, i was stung by a bee about a week ago, but my toes are still the way they where on day one i am about to stick a needle in my one toe just to relieve some pressure. why is this one lasting so long? never had this type of reaction with my other stings. it even feels as if it is in my toe bone…

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  148. Sarah

    I stepped on a bee in my backyard by accident and immediately removed the stinger. The bottom of my foot got swollen, then the next day it started itching really bad. Why does my foot itch like that?

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    • Bailey

      It’s just a late reaction. Usually itching happens at least a week later, but in this case it’s not. So don’t worry I don’t think your ellergic. I retired from a nurse, and had this happen a couple of times.

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  149. cheyanne

    My 8 yr old son was stung by a bee in his finger 2 days ago and his finger is still swollen and the inching is severe is this normal and when do it stop. Or is this a sign to take him to urgent care

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  150. Jasmine

    Hello. I was stung by a bee 2days ago for the first time in my life. The bee stung me in the left region on my back, i didn’t notice the bee until I felt excruciating pain on my back. My boyfriend saw the bee in the water of his pool and immediately took out the stinger. The area where the bee stung me is near my shoulder blade. I’m having sudden back discomfort, is this related to the bee sting or a straining of muscles in the back?

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  151. Marlee

    I was stung by a bee for the first time on Tuesday it is now Saturday it started as a normal red welt itchy the normal symptoms for a bee sting now it is Saturday and it is purple. Please someone tell me if this is normal . -11 year old daughter

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  152. Tisha

    I was stung 4 times in the hand. Within 15 minutes I experienced tingling down in my foot. Should I be alarmed? Is this a sign of an allergy to bees?

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    • John

      I had a similar reaction. I was recently stung by a yellow jacket on the back of my neck. I have been stung many times in my life and never experienced a significant reaction. This time, within about 15 or 20 minutes I began feeling a burning and itching in my fingers and toes. Over the course of a couple of hours it spread throughout my hands and feet. I took aspirin and over the course of the day the symptoms subsided. The next day there was still some itching but for the most part I was fine. Never experienced anything like it before and until your post, couldn’t find anyone else who had the same reaction.

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      • Rajesh

        feeling the same stung by wasp on abdomen itching palms and feet. What should I do?

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      • yvette

        Was this temporary? I am also experiencing this wks after a bee sting. Can’t find any help.

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  153. tonya

    i was stung by a wasp on inside of wrist had go ER 2 days later & get steriod shot & some other shot but all swelling & redness is still here 24 hours later, do i need go back to doctor

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  154. Judy Dolan

    I was stung by a yellow jacket two days ago. Yesterday I went to a clinic because the entire finger was red, swollen and there was a distinct red line going down the finger toward my wrist. They gave me a tetnus shot and antibiotic cream and a steroid cream. They told me if it got worse that I should go back.

    My question is that everything is the same except the area where the actual bee sting occured is now much redder, almost a purple color and I am itchy everywhere. Should I go back or wait another day?

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    • If the itching all over is new, I would go back. If the only change is the color of the sting site, I’d call and ask, but I bet they’d say come back for that, too. NOTE: I am not a doctor.

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    • Elizabeth

      Hey, I was just talking to a friend today about something like this. She was telling me that a bee had stung her in the hand and it made a red line going up her wrist. And her mom made a bowl of HOT WATER (as hot as you can stand it) and put a lot of salt in the water and had her stick her hand in it till she couldn’t handle anymore. It made her hand better. The red line went away. Idk try this, maybe it will help. Good luck.

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  155. cm

    Hi Dr. Greene
    My mom was stung by a bee 5 weeks ago. Her finger (the area where she was stung) swelled and rashes appeared on her skin. She is doubting that she had remove the stinger. Now, she is experiencing difficulty in breathing and as if there was something blocking in her airways. Is this an allergic reaction from the stung she got? and is it okay to take antihistamine just to stop breathlessness?

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    • I’m not a doctor, but if she’s having difficulty breathing, I’d take her to the doctor. Don’t mess with over the counter meds and wait to see what happens.

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  156. Ms Bobbye Wiley

    In the early 60’s..I know a long time ago!!….I was stung 2 or 3 times by honey bees..the last time one got in my hair and stung on the top of my head. As a result the swelling went all the way down my face and out my chin. At all times I went to emergency room in anaflayec shock, the last time on the head the doctor said “next time, don’t call me call the undertaker!!”
    As to my question…have not been stung since then (husband pushed me out of bed one time when he thought he heard a bee!) how long does the allergy last? Know this is lengthy…THANK YOU!!

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  157. Tamara Hahn

    I passed out as a passenger on my husbands harley, He kept the bike up & I ended up in the ditch. I know now that I had been stung by a yellow jacket 3.5 hrs prior in the neck. A year later was stung by another yellow jacket under my arm close to arm pit. I again passed out 4 hrs later. On both occasions, just before passing out, I felt a weird sensation going through my body, I felt very week & lathargic. Both sting areas the sting hole was quite large, it was hot, swollen, itched bad. The areas were really red and and size approx 6″ x 5″ area. These symptoms lasted over 7 months. It was horrible!!! I honestly have not felt right since all this happened. I received a 3rd sting a few months later, I had no passing out with this one however, but the area on my hip was swollen, hard, red, itched and huge!! It was there for 6 months also!!

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  158. Cindy Emerson

    About 6 weeks ago I was stung by a red wasp on the top of my foot. It was just a normal sting with pain, redness and swelling. I am now experiencing pain in that area. Could you tell me why this is happening?

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  159. shona

    Hello Dr. Green,

    My daughter was stung by a bee, in the lower neck area right under the right ear lob, three weeks ago while at school. She had some pain, which went away in a day or so. However, she developed a small lump in its place. It doesn’t hurt, but it protrudes. Is this normal?

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  160. terry knutson

    Dr Green,

    I was sitting outside when a bee drove straight into my chest at a very high rate of speed. This was a couple of years ago.

    It seems like the stinger may be in my chest and I now have a lump that is about 1 1/2 by 1 1/2 inches around and 1/2 inch protruding out.

    I have had a significant weight loss since then, could this be because of this?

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    • Hi Terry. That’s an unusual sting! Significant unexplained weight loss is unlikely to be caused by a bee sting – but should be looked into. It’s a great reason for a trip to the doctor.

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    • Joshua Friedman

      I am not a doctor but I am a beekeeper. That behavior does not sound like stinging behavior. If you know for a fact that it stung you then that’s one thing. However, bees “ramming” you typically suggests one of two things. 1) Warning bump- Italian bees, the primary bee you will encounter in the U.S., are very docile. They only sting when under immediate threat. If they are unsure of your intentions, they will often ram you as a hint to “go away!” This does not involve an actual sting, as that would kill the bee. 2) Italian bees are known for being extremely clumsy. I have them plow into me and nearly knock themselves unconscious all the time in the bee yard. When they sting you, you will know because they land on you and rapidly proceed to latch on and show you what they think of you. Once again, does not sound like a typical sting!

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  161. mary budzinski

    Last night I accidently stepped on a bee barefoot and it held on to my toe and stung my toe.Today I have pain in my lower right side where my kidney is located. Could this be a symptom from the bee sting. Thank Youl

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    • Good question, Mary. I doubt that a sting on the toe one day would be the cause of isolated pain over the kidney the next – but I admit I’m not sure. Maaybe a lymph node in that area could be involved if it is the same side as the toe.

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  162. Antonio Maldonado

    Please Help me,
    I was stung by over 50 bees about a week ago while cutting the grass. They stung my leggs, my back the back of my head and all over my hands and fingers and my dad chased them off when he wet me with the water hose and than i quickly took a showet to relieve the burning. Its been a week since the attack, and im still itching like crazy and my fingers are all swollen and hurt so much. Please Help me. Thanks

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  163. Yvonne

    Several years ago I laid on a sunbed not knowing there was a wasp nest under it. When I laid down I was stung all over the back of my head which became very swolen.
    Since them I have had 4 episodes of anaphylaxis. I have had lots of tests and they all came up negative. I had another attack yesterday and spent the night in hospital.
    Could these attacks be related to the wasp stings. My head does sometimes swell where I was stung

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  164. Ashlee

    Good day – my son was stung by a honey bee in Bermuda on Sunday March 8th and yesterday he had sweeling and redness about 2 inches around the sting site. he’s also come down with a cold. what should we do?

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  165. Mamadou Keita

    When I was 3 years old I was having a barbecue party at my stepmother’s house. There was a beehive and then it stung me and has been there for the last 5 years. I don’t know what happened and may be allergic reaction or something. I was wondering can you inform me on what can I do to decrease the swelling?

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    • Mamadou Keita

      Sorry correction I was 8 years old and now I’m 13.

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  166. Linda

    Dr. Greene, I was stung by a bee on the lower neck. I had never had a reaction to bee stings before. I had no external swelling just red at sting site. This time, my nose started running, my throat started hurting, my voice changed, feeling sleepy, felt like vomiting, had trouble walking straight. I went to ER, they said I had sever reaction. They kept me there until my voice was back to normal. Gave me medication sent me home after 6 hours.

    I have continued to feel a numbness throughout my whole body. Mead feels numb with pressure (my ears ring and my eyes feel strange), very week and shaky, my mouth and down my throat feels sore and swollen. It’s like I am floating in my body. I went to my dr. who said nothing and gave me medication. Could these symptoms still be from the bee sting?

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  167. Linda

    I was bitten by a gnat near my teardrop in September 2014, my eyelid swelling went down but the eyelid is 3 times puffy than the other eyelid. What should I do.

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  168. katie

    I got stung last summer on the bottom of my foot near my big toe, and sometimes whilst im walking it still hurts. What do i do?

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  169. Ladylisa

    I was stung by a gang of hornets at least ten to 13 stings in Sept 17th of 2013. I had a terrible reaction of welts at every bit as well as pain took medicine and after a few days they went away but since then I’ve been having outbreaks of hives of which I never had before unless I took a birth control shot called depomovera but that’s been over ten years. So my question is can I still be having issues from the attack in September?

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  170. SmartGirl

    I was stung on the bottom of the foot two weeks ago (second ever bee sting) and it seemed to heal up fine. This morning though, intense itching woke me out of a sound sleep & when I rubbed my foot to scratch it the burning pain returned. The itch was so intense I had to put some Benadryl cream on it, and when I did, I noticed that at the site of the sting there is a small hard lump and what appears to be part of the stinger still under my skin.

    I have two autoimmune diseases (MS & RA) so I’m wondering if I should get this looked at by my GP, or just wait it out as my body absorbs or pushes out the remaining bit of stinger. I tried to gently squeeze it out (like a splinter) but it is far too tender.

    Any advice?

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    • Catherine S.

      Hi, I was stung once, maybe twice (sting marks so tiny) by a dark colored wasp this past Sunday on joint of my right pinky finger It hurt instantly, swelled a tiny bit and hand ached for maybe 4 or 5 hours. Wasn’t somewhere I could get ice. Next day, Monday, no swelling, sting site barely a red dot. But used right hand to open a jar and to pick up something a little heavy, it hurt like I’d sprained it. Also, all day Monday and now early Tuesday morning queasy stomach, loose stool, minor cramping, slight nausea. Related to sting? Or coincidence? I was stung by a bee 40 years ago, and then again 15 years ago. No bad reaction that I can remember.

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  171. Jessica Champagne

    Dr. Green- first thank you for your time. My three year old presents with a history of yellow jacket sting three (plus) weeks ago behind upper left ear. Redness and swelling occurred immediately afterward and decreased over the next day or so. It was a large localized reaction the size of my hand.
    Today I happened to be looking in her ear and noticed that there is still a small reddened spot that she has obviously been scratching (scab with plasma exudate) at the exact site of the bee sting. (I had taken a photo of the redness and swelling and this is in the exact same spot as the sting) She has been crabby and clingy for the past two weeks (but what 3 year old isn’t?) In the last two days I have noticed a red rash to the left corner of her mouth, approx 2 inches in diameter. No fever that I have noticed (possible low grade that was undetected) eating, drinking, seems a bit more tired than usual. All this being said: Is it normal to have dermatological effects from yellow jacket venom so late after the sting? (Her Aunt supposedly had an anaphylactic reaction to bees as a child) Do you think a visit to an allergist should be in order. Or should I just keep an eye on it. Thank you so much.
    Just checked her lymph nodes and the ones just under her jaw are palpable but not super swollen. The left side larger than the right.
    Jessica

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  172. Sitarra winchell

    I was stung by a bee on the 20th of this month and 2 days ago it started itching and had raised up again. It looks like a rash is forming around it and it feels like it is on fire do I need to seek medical attention?

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  173. Cynthia Newell Cliffe

    I was stung about 3 weekend ago in my upper arm. It swelled up right away and turned bright red. It was about 3 to 4in wide and raised about 1 1/2 in high. It was very painful and went away about a week later. I started getting an bad itching sensation and scratched at my arm and it has a scab over it or something because I looked and I had a hole where the bee stung me. Today my arm started hurting again. The swelling is back and feels warm to touch. I also started hurting in my shoulder and under my shoulder blade. Should I seek medical attention?

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  174. Gav Mc

    I was stung on the finger by a wasp on Saturday Afternoon. About 2-3 hours later I began to feel nauseous. Now almost 48 hours later I still feel nauseous but have no other symptoms. I went to ER after 24hrs and the doc took my blood pressure and temp but nothing else and said he believed the nausea was unrelated to the sting. After 48hours am I now in the clear from Anaphylaxis from the sting?

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  175. Priyank

    Hello Dr Greene. My 15 months daughter got stung by a bee one week back. I immediately removed the stinger and rubbed some raw onion. After that I applied some baking soda paste and took her to hospital. There she was given 2 injections Avil 0.2 ml diluted and Bydroust 90 mg. She was under observation for couple of hours and then we came back home. She generally did not show any signs of any other side effect or reaction but there is some redness and hardness around the area where the bee stung (pic attached). Is there anything to worry about? Should I consult my Dr again? Please help.

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  176. penny marshall

    Dear dr green

    I was stung by a red wasp 2 weeks ago the sting hurt and had fever and as the day progressed started to swell. I took 2 benadryl and went to bed. When I woke up the next morning the swelling was worse and had spread to my hand I went to dr and they gave me a prednisone shot. Now 2 weeks later I have low grade fever and feel really tired. Went back to dr today and they fo not think it is delayed reaction to venum. What are your thoughts ?

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    • Alan Greene

      Penny, many things can cause low grade fever and fatigue – but it is important to know that delayed reactions to wasp stings, though uncommon, can last for weeks.

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