Treating Your Child's First Bee Sting

If your child has never been stung by a bee, you probably don't know whether he or she is allergic to bee stings. If that's the case, your child being stung by a bee can be just as terrifying for you as it is the child. Fortunately, treating a bee sting isn't difficult, and as long as you know what to watch for, your child shouldn't be in any immediate danger. Learn how to treat your child's first bee sting and when you need to call your doctor.

Immediate Treatment

As soon as your child is stung by a bee, there are several things that you need to do.

  • Remove the stinger quickly. The longer the stinger is in place, the longer the venom has to penetrate your child's skin. You can either pull the stinger out using your fingers or tweezers or you can scrape it away from the skin using a credit card.
  • Wash the area surrounding the sting with warm water and soap.
  • Apply a cold, wet washcloth to the area to ease the pain and prevent swelling. Alternatively, you could use an ice pack.
  • Give your child an age-appropriate dose of acetaminophen or ibuprofen to ease any lingering pain. Remember, small children and babies cannot have certain medications. You shouldn't give acetaminophen to babies under three months old without doctor permission, ibuprofen to babies less than six months old and you shouldn't give aspirin to children under the age of 18.

If the bee sting itches, call your doctor to see if you can give your child an over-the-counter antihistamine. You can also use a topical cream, such as calamine lotion or corticosteroid cream, to ease the itchiness and prevent your child from scratching.

Allergic Reactions

If your child is allergic to bee stings, you need to seek emergency treatment. To determine whether your little one is having an allergic reaction to the bee sting watch for:

  • Rapid or weak pulse
  • Nausea or vomiting 
  • Swelling in the lips, tongue, and face — it's normal to have some swelling around the are that was stung
  • Wheezing or any difficulty breathing
  • Flushed or pale skin
  • Hives
  • Dizziness or fainting
  • Loss of consciousness

If you notice any of these things, take your child to the nearest emergency room for treatment. It's important to follow up with your child's regular doctor once your child is out of danger. This way, the doctor can write you a prescription for a treatment shot that you can give to your child immediately if he or she is ever stung again.

Getting stung by a bee is scary, especially if it's the first time your child was stung. But knowing what to watch for and how to treat the bee sting properly helps ensure your child's safety.