For25-ish years, I had avoided the pests known as bees. I’ve since learned that bees aren’t so bad and wasps are the real terrors, but I have also been stung. The good news is I’m not allergic to wasps. I don’t think that translates to bees, but at least I didn’t need an EpiPen that I didn’t have. Didn’t help that the darn thing decided to attack while I was home alone.

Anyway, in case you haven’t picked up on it, we’re talking about bee and wasp stings. Most people don’t have an actual allergy to stings, but the toxin that’s injected when stung. People with severe allergic reactions will experience symptoms such as:

  • Irritated skin (rashes, hives, burning, itching, etc)
  • Swelling around the mouth, tongue, and/or throat
  • Difficulty breathing or swallowing
  • Abdominal craps
  • Nausea
  • Feeling weak or collapsing
  • Other allergy symptoms

If the person goes in anaphylactic shock, apply their injector pen which will administer adrenaline. Then ensure the person moves as little as possible, apply pressure to the sting site, and call emergency services.

Bees can only sting once and will leave the stinger behind. If you can, scrape across the skin with a nail or card or something similar to remove the stinger. Pulling can result in releasing more venom into the skin. Then wash the area and apply ice. Wasps, on the other hand, do not leave their stinger behind and can/will sting multiple times. If a wasp sting does occur, clean the affect area and apply ice. You can take pain killers, but you should be on the lookout for signs of an allergic reaction. If you have never been stung by a bee or wasp before, contact someone you know and let them know; you probably don’t want to be alone in case you start to go into anaphylactic shock.

For wasp stings, you should call emergency services immediately if a person has been stung more than 10 times (5 times if they are a child), have been stung in the mouth or throat (because any resulting swelling can block the airways), if they have a severe allergic reaction, or have a history or allergic reactions.

Hopefully you don’t have wasp problems at your home, but seeing as the European Wasp is supposedly on the rise, please ensure your autoinjectors are up to date and keep safe.

Info: Better Health Victoria: https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/ConditionsAndTreatments/european-wasp

Health Direct: https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/insect-bites-and-stings

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