Bee Stings

Your child was stung by a honeybee, bumblebee, hornet, wasp, or yellow jacket. Over 95% are from yellow jackets. These stings cause immediate painful red bumps. Although the pain is usually better in 2 hours, the swelling may increase for up to 25 hours. Multiple stings (more than 10) can cause vomiting, diarrhea, a headache, and fever. This is a toxic reaction related to the amount of venom received (that is, not an allergic reaction). A sting on the tongue can cause swelling that interferes with breathing.

Home Care

Treatment: If you see a black dot in the bite, the stinger is still present (this only occurs with honeybee stings). Remove it by scraping it off. If only a small fragment remains, use tweezers or a sterile needle just as you would to remover a sliver. Then rub each sting for 15 minutes with a cotton ball soaked with meat tenderizer solution.

This will neutralize the venom and relieve the pain. If meat tenderizer is not available, apply an ice cube while you obtain some.


Some bee stings can be prevented by avoiding gardens and orchards and by not going barefoot. Insect repellents are not effective against these stinging insects.
  • Breathing or swallowing is difficult.
  • Hives are present.
  • There are 10 or more stings.
  • A sting occurs inside the mouth.
  • You can't remove the stinger.
  • The swelling continues to spread after 24 hours.
  • Swelling of the hand (or foot) spreads past the wrist (or ankle).
  • You want a nurse or doctor to look at the sting.
  • You have other questions or concerns.