A – Z of Illnesses & Conditions

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Bee Stings

Bee Stings:  Although many different types of insects are able to inflict a poisonous bite or sting (meaning they are venomous), the insects most likely to cause medical problems are bees (including the domestic honey bee, its Africanized "killer bee" race, and the bumble bee).

Because many of these species live in colonies, you may be stung by many. Although most stings cause only minor medical problems, some stings may cause serious medical problems and even death.

Medical problems from bee stings are divided into two categories:

Local reactions (only the part of the body near the sting is affected). Symptoms are:
  •  Immediate pain, redness, swelling, and itching at the sting site may occur.
  • A large (greater than four inches across) local reaction may develop over the next 12-36 hours.
  • A bacterial skin infection, although uncommon may also begin during the first 12-36 hours (or even after the first few days).
  • These may cause an enlarging area of redness at the sting site. It may be difficult to tell a local skin reaction and a local bacterial skin infection apart.
Systemic or allergic reactions (parts of the body away from the sting are affected). Symptoms are :     
  • Hives (raised itchy bumps on the skin) and itching all over the body
  • Swelling of the mouth or throat or both
  • Wheezing
  • Shortness of breath or other difficulty breathing
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Anxiety
  • Chest pain
In severe cases, marked difficulty breathing, unconsciousness, and even death may occur.

See your doctor if you've been bitten or stung and there's a lot of swelling and blistering or if there's pus, which indicates an infection.

Always seek the advice of your doctor before taking herbal remedies

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