Bee/ wasp sting is a common form of venomous sting especially amongst individuals working in bee farms where bees are cultivated for honey. Bee sting can be life threatening with multiple bee stings causing skin blisters, introduction of venom which gets into the blood stream that can cause severe anaphylactic shock. The venom contains toxic enzymes which increase capillary permeability responsible for the swelling and skin blisters after bee/ wasp sting, haemolysis which is the destruction of red blood cells, allergic and anaphylactic reactions. The stinger of the honey bee is barbed and so is left behind in the skin with the venom sac which then continues to contract and envenom the body.
The stinger in bees is attached to its abdomen and after a bee sting, the stinger with part of the bee’s abdomen; muscles and other tissues are left on the victim. This can lead to the death of the bee especially honey bees. The toxins in bee sting are melittin and histamine which are responsible for the local and systemic effects that are seen after a bee sting.
Within a few minutes of the sting, symptoms start and in multiple stings, deaths may occur within 15-30 minutes if prompt medical care is not given. Severe reaction is seen in patients who have had a previous reaction to stings.
However, most stings are usually mild causing few symptoms but every case of bee/ wasp sting should be treated adequate to prevent delayed reactions from the bee sting. Symptoms of bee/ wasp stings may include:
In susceptible patients, symptoms appear within a few seconds and death may occur in 2 minutes. First aid treatment of bee/ was sting is life saving and can reduce death caused by these stings.
In severe anaphylactic shock, emergency treatment should be instituted without delay. Call 911 or the emergency number as applicable to the location.
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