Clinical Reference Systems: Pediatric Advisor 10.0
Your child was stung by a honey bee, bumble bee, hornet,
wasp, or yellow jacket. Over 95 percent of bee stings are
by yellow jackets. These stings cause immediate painful red
bumps. While the pain is usually better in 2 hours, the
swelling may increase for up to 24 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. It is not an allergic
reaction, which would cause difficulty breathing, difficulty
swallowing, passing out, or hives.
If you see a little black dot in the bite, the stinger
is still present (this only occurs with honey bee
stings). Remove it by scraping it off. If only a small
fragment remains, it will come out on its own. Then rub
each sting for 20 minutes with a cotton ball soaked in a
meat tenderizer solution. (Avoid in the area around
the eye.) This will neutralize the venom and relieve
the pain. If meat tenderizer is not available, apply an
aluminum-based deodorant or a baking soda solution for
20 minutes. For persistent pain, massage with an ice
cube for 10 minutes. Give acetaminophen immediately for
relief of pain and burning.
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.
Call Your Child's Physician Immediately (or Call 911) If:
- Breathing or swallowing is difficult.
Call Your Child's Physician During Office Hours If:
- The swelling continues to spread after 24 hours.
- Swelling of the hand (or foot) spreads past the wrist (or
- You have other questions or concerns.