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Health Tip: 'Bee-ing' Aware of Summer's Sting

Ways to avoid insect bites

(HealthDay News) -- With the pending arrival of summer come a host of often-nasty insects including bees, wasps, hornets, yellow jackets or fire ants -- all ready to bite and sting.

While most people will experience temporary redness, pain, swelling and itching at the site of the sting, those allergic to stinging insects can have severe reactions.

The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology offers these suggestions:

  • Stay as far away as possible from stinging insects' nests.
  • Hire a trained exterminator to destroy any hives and nests around your home.
  • If you encounter flying insects, remain calm and quiet, and move slowly. Do not swat at them.
  • Avoid wearing brightly colored clothing and heavy scented perfume when outdoors.
  • Wear closed-toe shoes outdoors and avoid going barefoot.
  • Be careful when cooking, eating, or drinking sweet drinks such as soda or juice outdoors -- the smell of food attracts insects. Keep all food covered until eaten.
  • Keep areas around trash containers clean and keep away from them as much as possible.

If you or someone in your family has been bitten or stung, here's what to do:

  • Elevate the affected arm or leg and apply ice or a cold compress to reduce swelling and pain.
  • Apply an over-the-counter product like calamine lotion on the infected area.
  • See your doctor if swelling progresses or if the sting site seems infected.
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