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Bee & Insect Stings

Insect and Bee Stings...

Insect stings are common, and may cause discomfort, but unless you suffer from an allergic reaction, the best course of treatment is to soothe the pain and reduce swelling.

There are a few stinging insects that may cause an allergic reaction. These include honeybees, hornets, yellow jackets, bumblebees, wasps, spiders and ants. The yellow jacket and honeybee are the cause of most allergic reactions to insects.

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Symptoms of an allergy to bee venom...

Some people are allergic to bee venom, and if they are stung, a very severe reaction can occur. Symptoms include difficulty in swallowing, hoarseness, laboured breathing, weakness, confusion, severe swelling, and a feeling of impending disaster. A more severe reaction results in closing of the airway and/or shock (cyanosis and a drop in blood pressure), producing unconsciousness.

Treatment for a bee sting...

Using tweezers, immediately and carefully remove any stinger left in the skin. Do not squeeze it as this will allow more poison in. Reactions can occur within minutes or hours. If treatment is not sought immediately, death can result. If you have a known allergy to a particular venom, have a doctor prescribe as emergency treatment kit. Seek emergency medical care as soon as possible.

Echinacea helps to modulate the immune system and encourage healing. Yellow dock is a blood and liver cleanser which may also help the body in its response to an allergy. High doses of Calcium can help to reduce the pain, and a Vitamin C flush will speed up healing. Vitamin C with Bioflavonoids may help to moderate an allergic response. Vitamin B5 has shown an allergy dampening effect. Quercetin and Bromelain is also excellent for allergies.

Homoeopathic Apis mellifera is made from bees and their venom, and is for insect stings that burn and sting. The site appears bright red, swollen, and angry. Arnica is for insect stings that are painful to touch and look bruised. Ledum is good for puncture wounds, like a sting, if it appears puffy and is cold to the touch. Hypericum will help if shooting pains are felt. Calendula or Hypercal cream are good choices to apply topically. Silica will aid the body in expelling the sting if it is difficult to extract. Homoeopathic Histamine can act as an antihistamine, reducing the body's allergic response.

Apply undiluted pure essential oil of Tea Tree or Lavender directly to the affected area.

Nutritional and Herbal support for a Bee Sting include:

Calcium - 1500 mg a day helps relieve pain.

Vitamin C - To speed recovery and healing. See Vitamin C flush.

Vitamin E - Cut open capsule or use Vitamin E oil and apply to sting site. Aids in healing.

Echinacea - To speed healing and regulate immune response. Echinacea can be used to help relieve symptoms of hay fever, allergies, sinusitis, catarrh and mucous congestion.

Quercetin and Bromelain Acts as a natural anti inflammatory without harsh side effects of many pharmaceuticals.

Some interesting points on Bee Stings:

  • For a wasp or bee sting, open or crush a charcoal tablet and place on a cotton ball. Place the cotton ball on the affected area and cover with an adhesive bandage. This will reduce pain and swelling. Honeybees leave their stinger in their victim, and this should be removed immediately. Redmond Clay or Honey will help to draw out stinger. A cold pack or ice will relieve the pain and swelling.
  • To avoid bee stings, wear plain, light-coloured clothing; avoid wearing anything that is flowered or dark. Don't wear perfume, suntan lotion, hair spray, or shiny jewellery. Avoid wearing sandals and loose-fitting clothes.
  • Researchers in Gainesville, Florida, have found that squashing a yellow jacket releases a chemical that causes other yellow jackets in the area to attack. Instead of swatting at the insect, it is best to run from it.
  • In the US, a venom extractor called "Lil Sucker" is available. It fits inside your pocket or purse. If you get stung, it produces a vacuum that sucks the venom out within 2 minutes. The end of the extractor can also be used to remove a honeybee stinger. 1 800 ITCHING is the US number to call for more information.
  • Apply poultices made from White Oak bark and leaves, Comfrey, Chamomile and Slippery elm. Also good are a Lobelia poultice and a Plantain poultice or salve. Apparently Tobacco also works well as a poultice.
  • Apply pure lemon juice, honey, or cider vinegar to a wasp sting to relieve the pain. Raw onion, Aloe Vera, or the juice of a spring onion can soothe a sting.
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The Naturopathic Team
Ideal Health

Disclaimer: The health information presented here has been written for the New Zealand health consumer. It is of a general nature and is only intended to provide a summary of the subjects covered and is intended to be used for educational and general information purposes only. It is not intended as medical advice or as a means to diagnose, treat, cure or prescribe for any particular condition or disease. You assume all responsibility for the treatment which may be undertaken as a result of the information on this site, or treatment recommended by any other party. While all care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information, no responsibility or liability is accepted, and no person should act in reliance on any statement contained in the information provided. All health ailments should be treated by a qualified health professional.

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