How to Remove a Bee Stinger

Two Parts:Removing the StingerTreating the Sting Site

Bee stings are painful enough, but leaving the stinger in your skin can cause further pain. Since bees release venom through their stingers, it's important that you remove the stinger from your skin as quickly as you can. Learn how to remove the stinger and treat localized reaction symptoms. If you have severe allergy symptoms, seek medical attention immediately.

Part 1
Removing the Stinger

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    Call emergency medical help, if you have severe allergic symptoms. If you have a history of severe allergic reactions to bee stings or are experiencing any of the following symptoms, get emergency medical attention[1]:
    • Dizziness or faintness
    • Difficulty breathing
    • Swollen tongue
    • Hives
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    Scrape across the stinger using a flat edge. Use the edge of a credit card, your fingernail, or a blunt knife to scrape over the stinger, which looks like a small black dot.[2] Scraping across will actually pull the stinger out and to the side.
    • Scraping across the stinger prevents the venom sack from releasing more venom down into the sting.[3]
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    Use tweezers to pull the stinger out. If you don't want to scrape the stinger, take sharp tweezers or use your fingernails and carefully pull the stinger directly out. Take care not to squeeze the exposed end of the stinger, or you'll release more venom into your skin.[4]
    • Some argue that you shouldn't use tweezers, because it can release more venom. However, the amount of venom released shouldn't matter if you remove the stinger quickly.[5]
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    Apply an ice pack. The site of the sting will become inflamed and start to swell. Applying ice will numb any pain and keep the swelling down.[6]
    • If you were stung on your leg or arm, elevate the limb.[7]

Part 2
Treating the Sting Site

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    Apply hydrocortisone cream. Gently wash the site with mild soap and water. Then, apply a thin layer of hydrocortisone cream to minimize any reaction you might have.
    • For a more natural treatment, you can mix baking soda and water until it forms a thick paste. Spread this over the sting site.[8]
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    Use honey. If you don't have hydrocortisone on hand, spread pure honey over the sting site. Place gauze or a small cloth over it and let it sit for up to an hour before rinsing off.[9]
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    Apply toothpaste. Toothpaste is another natural alternative to neutralize the venom of a bee sting. Simply dab a little toothpaste over the sting site, place gauze or a small cloth over it, and let it sit for 20 to 30 minutes. Rinse the toothpaste off.[10]
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    Take acetaminophen or ibuprofen. This will help relieve some of the pain. Be sure to follow the package instructions regarding dosage.
    • Do not give acetaminophen or ibuprofen to infants or children. Purchase a children's pain reliever and follow the package instructions regarding age and dosage.
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    Take an antihistamine. This will reduce the severity of a reaction. You can take something like Benadryl or apply calamine lotion to reduce itchiness.[11][12]

Article Info

Categories: Stings Bites and Burns