How to Treat a Bee Sting

What do you do when you get stung by a bee? Or worse, your child does? Keep calm and follow these doctor-approved bee sting treatment tips.

Playing outside in the sunshine is all fun and games until a bee lands on the wrong arm. While tears may be inevitable, panic doesn't have to be. Rely on this plan for soothing a bee sting from Karyn Grossman, M.D., a dermatologist with practices in Los Angeles and New York City.

Asian toddler boy looking at a bee on flower
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1. Get the stinger out.

Hold the skin taut and scrape an item with a straight edge, such as a credit card, along the stinger’s edge, if it’s visible. Don’t squeeze the stinger; doing so could release more venom.

2. Elevate and ice.

Icing will help with the itching immediately and decrease the spread of venom. Aim for at least ten minutes and up to half an hour.

3. Dole out some meds.

Give your child ibuprofen or acetaminophen for pain and an oral antihistamine such as children’s Claritin or Benadryl for itching. “Benadryl cream can also be used three to four times per day,” says Dr. Grossman. If the swelling and pain get worse, red streaks form up the arm, or hives or any other symptoms develop, call your doctor right away.

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