How the body reacts to a bee sting

The stinger of a bee is made up of a stylus and two barbed parts known as lancets or slides that are located on the side of the stinger. When a bee will sting an individual, the lancet moves in an up and down manner automatically in order to force the stinger into the skin. The bee has no control over it at this point. Take note that the sting can go deep into the skin and continue to burrow even after it is already torn from the bee’s body.

When a bee stings

Once an individual sustains a bee sting, venom which is called apitoxin is injected into the individual while releasing pheromones which signal other bees to sting as well. The venom works in a similar way just like snake venom. The venom is comprised of several components such as histamine and melittin which is an acid-based toxin. Due to the venom injected through the sting, it will lead to swelling and inflammation of the skin unless the individual is allergic to the stings.

Allergic reaction to bee stings

Individuals who are allergic to the bee venom are at risk for developing a life-threatening reaction. The histamine that is present in the venom will signal the body to fight off the foreign organism. The body releases more histamine that will attack the cell receptors in an effort to protect the body.

Among those who are sensitive to bee stings, the histamine in the body overreacts and ends up attacking the healthy cells of the body. The allergic symptoms start with a dry cough, itchy eyes, sneezing, wheezing and hives. Other symptoms include low blood pressure, breathing difficulties, loss of consciousness and even go into anaphylactic shock that can result to death if not treated right away. By enrolling in a first aid class, you will learn how to handle allergic reactions.

Symptoms of a bee sting

Bee stings can produce a variety of reactions that range from minor pain and discomfort or even a severe allergic reaction. Take note that experiencing one type of reaction does not mean that the individual will always experience the same reaction once stung by a bee.

Mild reaction

Bee sting - reaction of body
During a severe reaction to a bee sting, the individual experiences difficulty breathing, hives and itchy, flushed skin.
  • Sharp burning pain at the site of the sting
  • Small-sized, white spot where the stinger punctured the skin
  • Red-colored welt at the sting site
  • Minor swelling around the sting site

Moderate reaction

  • Severe redness
  • Swelling at the sting site that steadily enlarges over a day or two

A moderate reaction to a bee sting typically vanishes within 5-10 days.

Severe allergic reaction

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Hives and itchy, flushed skin
  • Weak, rapid heartbeat
  • Swelling of the tongue and throat
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Fainting or dizziness
  • Loss of consciousness

Multiple stings

If an individual stung several times, the high amount of venom that accumulated will cause a toxic reaction that will make the individual sick. The signs and symptoms include the following:

  • Headache
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Vertigo
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Fainting
  • Convulsions

Always remember that getting multiple bee stings is considered as a medical emergency among young children, elderly and those who have breathing or heart problems.

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