Health Tip: Soothing a Bee Sting

Calm your child first

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(HealthDay News) -- Bee stings generally only cause minor pain and discomfort, but they can sometimes cause allergic reactions.

If your child's sting becomes extremely painful, red and swollen, you may need to see a doctor immediately to rule out a reaction, says the St. Louis Children's Hospital. Other symptoms of a reaction include coughing, difficulty breathing, vomiting, nausea, dizziness, fainting or anxiety.

If the bee sting seems mild and there are no signs of an allergic reaction, the hospital recommends that you first calm your child so that you can safely remove the stinger. To remove it, scrape a blunt item, such as a credit card, across the sting. Never pull the stinger out directly, as it could release more venom into the wound.

The area should be thoroughly washed with soap and water, then an ice pack applied to reduce swelling and discomfort. The pack should be applied at 10-minute intervals for between 30 and 60 minutes.

If the sting begins to itch after a while, you can apply a topical treatment, including a paste of baking soda and water, unseasoned meat tenderizer and water, or a wet tea bag. These should be left on the wound for 15 to 20 minutes, then washed off. You can also use an over-the-counter cream designed to treat insect stings.

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