Top news today reports that bees from hive of 800,000 kill Arizona landscaper so Evolve Medical would like to take the opportunity to discuss bee safety and what to do before you get to your primary care or urgent care. If you would like to read the full story, “A swarm of bees from a hive estimated to hold 800,000 attacked four landscapers Wednesday morning in southern Arizona, leaving one dead and another critically injured,” click here: Washington Post today.
Use these bee tips to help you stay safe:
o Check your property regularly for bee colonies. Honey bees nest in a wide variety of places, especially Africanized honey bees. Look for bees in work areas before using power
equipment. Check animal burrows, water meter boxes, overturned flower pots, trees and shrubs.
o Keep pets and children indoors when using weed eaters, hedge clippers, lawn mowers, chain saws, etc. Attacks frequently occur when a person is mowing the lawn or pruning shrubs and inadvertently strikes a nest.
o If you encounter a swarm, run as quickly as you can in a straight line away from the bees. Do not flail or swing your arms at them, as this may further annoy them. Get to the closest house or car as quickly as possible. Don’t worry if a few bees become trapped in your home. If several bees follow you into your car, drive about a quarter of a mile and le the bees out.
o Because bees target the head and eyes, cover your head as much as you can without slowing your escape.
o Never attempt to remove a nest yourself. Find a reputable pest control company that specializes in bee removal.
· Get indoors as quickly as possible. If you aren’t near a building, get inside the nearest car or shed. Close the doors and windows to keep the bees from following you.
· If no shelter is available, keep running. African honey bees can follow you for as far as a quarter of a mile. If you run far enough, you should be able to lose them.
· Whatever you do, don’t stay still if the bees are stinging you. These aren’t grizzly bears; they will not stop if you “play dead.”
· Don’t swat at the bees or wave your arms to fend them off. That will only confirm that you are indeed a threat. You’re likely to be stung even more.
· Don’t jump into a pool or other body of water to avoid the bees. They can and will wait for you to surface, and will sting you as soon as you do. You can’t hold your breath long enough to wait them out.
· If someone else is being stung by killer bees and cannot run away, cover them with anything you can find. Do what you can to quickly cover any exposed skin or susceptible areas of their body, and then run for help as fast as you can.
· Once you are in a safe place, use a blunt object to scrape any stingers out of your skin. When an African honey bee stings, the stinger is pulled from its abdomen along with the venom sac, which can keep pumping venom into your body. The sooner you remove the stingers, the less venom will enter your system.
· Wash the sting sites with soap and water to avoid infections. Use ice packs to reduce swelling and pain. Of course, if you are allergic to bee venom, seek medical attention immediately.
· If you suffered multiple stings, seek medical attention immediately.
Two kinds of reactions are usually associated with bee stings and those of other stinging insects as well: (1) local or (2) systemic, allergic, or life-threatening.
(1) Local Reactions:
A local reaction is usually characterized by pain, swelling, redness, itching, and a wheal surrounding the wound made by the stinging apparatus. Swelling can sometimes be sever. For instance, if stung on the finger, the arm may be swollen even up to the elbow. Swelling such as this is fairly common, even though it may be alarming. However, a more serious allergic reaction may be indicated if other parts of the body besides the general area in which the sting occurred begin to swell. For example, if stung on the left hand and the right hand or neck shows swelling you should seek medical attention immediately. Normal swelling may last up to a few days. During the days following a stinging incident, the wound may itch.
This is the reaction of a majority of persons and those suffering it are considered to be at little risk of death, unless the mouth or throat is affected so that the respiratory tract is obstructed. Many in the general population continue to believe that because they “swell up,” they are at risk of losing their life when stung by bees.
How to alleviate the sting: Swelling may be reduced by icing the wound and/or taking an antihistamine such as Benadryl. Topical solutions such as calamine may also help to alleviate pain associated with stinging. It is beneficial to drink plenty of water.
(2) Systemic, Allergic, or Life-Threatening Reactions:
It is possible to have a severe allergic reaction to a bee sting that is not life-threatening. Remember, if an allergic reaction occurs, do seek medical attention immediately, but try not to panic. Panic will only worsen the reaction. Allergic reactions to bee stings can develop anywhere on the body and may include:
Rash or hives
Stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
Dizziness or severe headache
Swelling that is not in the general area of the sting site, especially in the throat, neck, or tongue.
Shortness of breath or difficulty in swallowing.
Drop in blood pressure
If you experience any of these symptoms, seek emergency medical assistance immediately. Symptoms can begin immediately following the sting or up to 30 minutes later and might last for hours. Anaphylaxis, or the inability to breath, will occur within seconds or minutes of a sting.
Anaphylaxis, if treated in time, usually can be reversed by epinephrine (adrenaline) injected into the body. Individuals who are aware that they are allergic to stings should carry epinephrine in either a normal syringe (sting kit) or an auto-injector (Epi-Pen) whenever they think they might encounter stinging insects. Epinephrine is obtainable only by prescription from a physician.
If you would like to read more, a good resource is the Mayo Clinic’s website:http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/bee-stings/basics/prevention/con-20034120