A guest post from http://www.backupcare.org/
Bees are magnificent creatures. They are brightly colored and seemingly good natured. They work all the time, but do so quite happily, buzzing from one beautiful flower to the next. Most times, they are quite peaceful and docile. They simply want to make their honey and protect their queen. However, bees get nervous when anything threatens their chances of completing those goals. If a bee feels it or its hive may be in danger, it will engage its last resort, its sting, often giving up its life to do so. This is a sad ending, not only for the bee but also for the person who is stung. A bee sting burns and swells and must be treated quickly.
The first step in treating a bee sting is to remove the stinger. While many people reach for the tweezers, some suggest that this is not the optimal method to use. By squeezing the stinger, more venom can be released. Chances are, if you are out and about you may not have access to tweezers anyway. Here are some other methods to quickly and safely remove a stinger without reaching for cosmetic implements.
- Reach for a Credit Card – Using the edge of a credit card, brush the surface of the skin. Start from an area behind the point of entry and push forward. The stinger will catch onto the edge of the card and slide out.
- Whip Out a Needle – Sterilize a needle or pin with rubbing alcohol or boiling water and scrape the skin surrounding the stinger until the stinger is extracted.
- Press Your Nail File into Service – Use the sandy side of a nail file to make short, quick strokes against the location where the stinger is lodged.
- Use an Onion – One home remedy suggests using an onion to scape at the stinger. While it may take a few more scrapes to push it out, it is said that the onion takes away both the pain and the itch.
- Scoop Up a Butter Knife – Use the dull edge of a butter knife to brush the skin and drive out the stinger.
- Use Your Fingernail – Something you always have on you is your own fingernail! Use your nail to stroke the skin until the stinger is dislodged. It’s important to thoroughly wash the area afterwards, however, as your fingernails harbor more nasty bacteria than most people realize.
- Penny – A penny, or any coin you have handy, can be used to scrape and extract a stinger. There is also an old wives’ tale that states that taping a penny to a sting (after the stinger is removed, of course) relieves pain and swelling.
- Ice – If scraping at the stinger is not working, try icing it first. By first freezing the stinger, the scraping method often works faster and it helps to ensure the stinger comes out all in one piece. If the stinger is deep in the skin and you cannot see it, push down on the skin either in front of, or on the sides, of the point of entry. This should cause the stinger to rise up so you can see it. You may have to keep pressing down with one hand while scraping with the other.
- Tape –Children often prefer this method of removal. Apply a piece of tape to the stinger location and gently pull the stinger forward, not up, until it is fully removed from the skin.
- Wax – Usually the wax of choice for this is hair removal wax, but lanolin has also been known to work. Attach the sticky wax to something like a twig or toothpick and touch it to the stinger. Then, gently pull the stinger forward and out. You can also place the wax on the stinger and apply the paper or cloth used for hair removal to the wax and then guide the stinger slowly out.
The most important aspect in removing a stinger is to do it quickly. As much as you want to avoid squeezing out more venom, and thus causing more pain and swelling, it is better to get the stinger out than to leave it in. As you can see, there are many options, and one of them should be readily available to you no matter where you might be at the time of the injury.
Remember to be mindful of possible allergic reactions. Symptoms of an allergic reaction are hives, swelling, respiratory distress, dizziness and fainting. If you see or experience any of these signs, seek medical attention immediately.