Here’s what you can put on a bee sting to relieve pain, reduce swelling, and disinfect the puncture. There’s something here for you, whether you’re a fan of conventional medicine or not.
Before You Proceed
Bee stings hurt—a lot—and they can be very upsetting depending on the circumstances. Knowing how to treat a bee sting will spare you much anxiety, pain, and even trauma, but I have to give you the following warning.
There’s a difference between a simple sting and a life-threatening emergency. If you’re allergic to bees, don’t use home remedies to combat a sting. Get immediate help.
Keep in mind that you could develop an allergic reaction to bee venom even if you weren’t reactive to it before. Pay attention to your symptoms, and don’t disregard any sting as a minor one.
What Is the First Thing You Should Do?
First and foremost, you should remove the bee stinger. This can be done with anything that is considered a dull-edged object. For example, a fingernail, a butter knife, a bank card, a pair of tweezers, or even a rigid piece of paper.
Some advice will tell you to never pinch or squeeze the stinger using tweezers, as this will cause more venom to leak out. It’s far more important to get the stinger out quickly than it is to do so gently.
Sometimes, a whole bee will still be stuck in your skin. Use tweezers to carefully remove the insect if this is the case.
Once you’ve removed the stinger/bee, wash the sting site with soap and water. Applying an ice pack, cold compress, or even just a block of ice or a bag of frozen peas can aid in reducing the swelling.
There are other substances you can use to relieve the sting. Most of them are readily available in your household and are inexpensive to buy.
It seems funny, but honeybees supply you with a remedy to their own venom. Honey can help relieve pain, itching, and inflammation and can also help speed up the healing process.
Place a small amount on the sting site, and cover it with a loose bandage or band-aid. Let it sit for an hour or two, and reapply it as and when necessary.
Honey has many medicinal properties, the most significant of which is that it’s antibacterial. This means it keeps your sting clean and prevents infection.
Several kinds of essential oils also have antiseptic and antibacterial properties. Thyme oil, lavender oil, rosemary oil, tea tree oil, and witch hazel are used in many home remedies and can be used to treat stings too.
They come with a warning though. Essential oils could irritate or even burn your skin if used undiluted. Don’t apply pure oils to your skin. Mix a few drops into a base oil before you use them.
This is a remedy that’s been recommended by Poison Control, as water and baking soda can neutralize the venom of the bee sting.
All that you have to do is add some water to create a paste and apply it to the sting site. Leaving it on for 15 minutes or so should do the trick.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Likewise, apple cider vinegar also has neutralizing benefits.
Soak a bandage or clean cloth in apple cider vinegar before wrapping the sting site with it. You can leave it on for up to 20 minutes at a time, but give your skin some time to breathe before you apply it again.
Over-the-Counter Medical Treatments
If you have OTC medications at home, don’t be afraid to use them. They can make a significant difference in the amount of pain you feel, and you can treat your sting with them too.
Hydrocortisone creams reduce swelling, redness, itching, and pain. Common anti-inflammatories such as Motrin or Advil will help you through your pain too.
Oral antihistamines like Benadryl might also be a good option.
Just read the labels before you use them. Consult your pharmacist if you have any concerns.
Spreading a small amount of toothpaste over the affected area can also neutralize the venom. Just don’t leave it on your skin for too long. It’s a quick and easy solution to stings.
Aloe Vera is known for soothing the skin and relieving pain. If you have fresh aloe vera, break off a leaf and squeeze the gel out directly onto the sting site. If not, aloe vera gels or creams are readily available from your local drug store.
This extract also has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.
Basil is a great herbal option. Rub a few leaves against your sting, or crush them and apply it as you would a paste or lotion. Basil is also a great choice if you’re using essential oils.
Technically, garlic is not an herb, but it still works. Use the juice from crushed garlic to help with inflammation and pain. Rub it onto your sting, leave it for a few minutes, and then rinse it off.
This cream is an antiseptic that is normally used to treat minor wounds. It’s a homeopathic medicine that assists in treating skin irritation and superficial injuries. It also has soothing properties so it functions as a pain reliever too.
This is an unconventional remedy. Meat tenderizer contains an enzyme called papain which many believe breaks down the protein that causes pain and itching.
Make this solution by adding one part of meat tenderizer to four parts of water. You can leave this on your sting for up to half an hour.
Bee stings can be traumatic, but treating them won’t require much effort. In most cases, bee stings will heal without intervention, but you can put things in motion with the simplest of remedies.
It’s more important to avoid getting stung. It’s not always possible, I understand, but prevention is better than cure. If you’re allergic, the only thing you can do is seek immediate medical assistance. Otherwise, these home remedies will do the trick without you spending a lot of money, or visiting the doctor.