8 effective home remedies to treat a bee sting and buzz off the pain
By NCVC Staff | Published on Sep 21, 2023
Bee stings are a common occurrence during the warmer months of the year, especially if you spend a lot of time outdoors. While bee stings are usually harmless, they can be quite painful and can cause a lot of discomfort. Fortunately, there are many home remedies that can help ease the pain and swelling caused by bee stings. Let us discuss some of the most effective home remedies for bee stings.
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What happens if a bee stings you?
As Health Shots reached out to Dr Rajiv Dang, Senior Director and HOD Internal Medicine and Medical Director, Max Hospital, Gurugram, he explained that when a bee or wasp stings, it usually happens unprovoked. The sting leaves toxic substances under the skin at the site of the bite.
“In most cases, the sting is simple, safe and innocuous, causing a sharp, needling pain, some redness and some swelling due to the release of venom under the skin, which can last for 1-2 days,” says Dr Dang. He further explains that if multiple stings occur, it can become very painful and dangerous, leading to respiratory problems, low blood pressure, swelling of the eyes and throat, difficulty in breathing and other issues.
This situation can quickly become an emergency. So if a person receives one or two bee or wasp stings, they may be safe. But if they receive multiple stings, it is best to seek medical assistance and consult a doctor.
Prevention and treatment of bee stings
One simple option when confronting a situation where a beehive has been disturbed and many bees are flying around, is to lower oneself as much as possible to the ground, cover oneself with cloth and take precautions to avoid being stung.
“If someone still does get stung, quick medical treatment is necessary. This includes thoroughly washing the area, applying a cold sponge, and taking antihistamines like Cetirizine, Allegra or Avil,” says Dr Dang. In cases where there are many stings, hospitals have rules to administer injectable drugs such as Hydrocortisone, and in rare cases, adrenaline may be necessary if breathing is compromised.
But if only one bee has stung you and there is just some swelling and slight pain then these home remedies can provide some quick relief.
Home remedies to treat bee sting
Applying ice to the sting area can help reduce swelling and pain. Simply wrap some ice in a cloth or paper towel and hold it on the affected area for about 15-20 minutes. Repeat this process every few hours for the first day after the sting.
2. Baking soda
Baking soda is another effective home remedy for bee stings. Mix a small amount of baking soda with water to make a paste, then apply it to the sting area. This might help reduce the swelling and pain.
Honey has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce swelling and pain caused by bee stings. Apply a small amount of honey directly to the sting area and leave it on for about 30 minutes before washing it off with warm water.
4. Apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar can help neutralize the acidic venom from the bee sting, which can help reduce pain and swelling. Soak a cotton ball in apple cider vinegar and apply it to the sting area for about 15-20 minutes.
5. Aloe vera
Aloe vera is a natural anti-inflammatory and can help reduce pain and swelling caused by bee stings. Cut open an aloe vera leaf and apply the gel directly to the sting area.
6. Lavender essential oil
Lavender essential oil has antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties that can help reduce pain and swelling caused by bee stings. Dilute a few drops of lavender essential oil with a carrier oil such as coconut oil and apply it to the sting area.
Toothpaste can help neutralize the venom from the bee sting and provide relief from pain and swelling. Apply a small amount of toothpaste to the sting area and leave it on for about 15-20 minutes before washing it off with warm water.
8. Meat tenderizer
Meat tenderizer contains enzymes that can help break down the proteins in bee venom, which can help reduce pain and swelling. Mix a small amount of meat tenderizer with water to make a paste, then apply it to the sting area.
Should you rub iron on bee sting?
While rubbing a metal object like a key on a bee sting may provide some temporary relief by stimulating nerve endings and reducing pain, there is no scientific evidence to support this as a safe or effective home remedy for bee stings. In fact, rubbing metal on the skin can potentially cause more harm than good by introducing bacteria or causing further irritation to the skin.
It is always best to stick to safe and proven home remedies such as ice, baking soda, honey, apple cider vinegar, aloe vera, lavender essential oil, toothpaste, and meat tenderizer, or to seek medical attention if you experience severe symptoms or an allergic reaction.