Have you ever been stung by a bee or a wasp? If so, you know the burning, itching, swollen feeling that comes with it. You may have also been given all sorts of advice on home remedies. Put toothpaste on it, or tobacco, an onion, honey, ban roll-on, a paste of vinegar/baking soda/meat tenderizer, or butter… Many natural remedies are based in fact but when it comes to an insect bite set all the other advice aside and rest assured that the best natural remedy is cold therapy.
The first thing you should do after receiving a bee or wasp sting is to carefully remove the stinger using tweezers. Try not to squeeze the stinger as that will inject more venom. Once the stinger is removed, a cold Theraml-Aid pad or a Bear or Zoo animal for the kids, should be applied for at least 20-minutes after an insect bite. Cold therapy will reduce the swelling by constricting vessels and slowing down the flow of venom-tainted blood. It will also relieve the pain and itching by numbing the area. If further pain relief is necessary, an over-the-counter painkiller like acetaminophen or ibuprofen can be taken. For children, please be sure to consult with a doctor about proper dosage.
While you are applying cold therapy to the affected area be sure to monitor the reaction to the sting. If the person stung has any swelling beyond the localized area, difficulty breathing or swallowing, anxiety, rapid pulse, or dizziness, head to the emergency room. Bee, wasp, and other insect stings can produce a severe allergic reaction in some people. A severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) to stings is potentially life-threatening and requires emergency treatment.