Bee stings are a common outdoor nuisance during Spring and Summer. Most people who get stung have a mild reaction and may experience sharp pain, slight swelling, and a red welt at the sting site.
The swelling and pain typically dissipate after a few hours. A small percentage of individuals have severe allergic reactions to bee stings.
According to Mayo Clinic, signs of a severe allergic reaction include hives, pale or flushed skin, a weak, rapid pulse, breathing difficulties, dizziness or fainting, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea, throat or tongue swelling, and a loss of consciousness.
Severe allergic reactions are life-threatening and require immediate medical treatment. Fortunately, most bee stings can be treated effectively at home with natural remedies.
After you get stung by a bee, and before you use any natural remedy to treat it, make sure that you remove the stinger if it’s still in your skin. The stinger will look like a small black dot on your skin at the sting site.
To remove the stinger, scrape the area with your fingernail or a credit card. Don’t use tweezers or your fingers to pull out the stinger. Doing so will push more of the bee’s venom into your body.
This video demonstrates the proper way to remove a stinger. Clean the sting site with soap and water before using one of these home remedies to treat your bee sting.
Ice is one of the best, simplest, and most effective home remedies for bee stings. If you don’t have an ice pack, put some ice cubes into a Ziploc bag to make your own ice pack.
Wrap a thin cloth, like a washcloth, around the ice pack before you apply it to the sting site. Put your ice pack on the sting site for 20 minutes. Ice will reduce the inflammation and relieve itching caused by bee stings.
Raw honey contains the enzyme, glucose oxidase, which forms hydrogen peroxide. Hydrogen peroxide produces an inhospitable environment for bacteria, which reduces your chance of developing an infection.
Honey also contains anti-inflammatory properties and can help reduce the itchiness and swelling associated with bee stings.
Apply a little raw honey to your sting site. Cover the area with a loose bandage, and leave it on for up to one hour. You can reapply raw honey several times each day or as needed.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar neutralizes bee venom, and it can reduce the itchiness, pain, and swelling associated with bee stings. Use a clean cotton ball to apply apple cider vinegar to your sting site. Leave it on for 10 minutes before you rinse it off. You can repeat the process if needed.
Lavender Essential Oil
Lavender essential oil is soothing and will reduce the itchiness and swelling associated with bee stings. Before you apply lavender essential oil to your sting site, test it on another area of your skin to make sure it doesn’t irritate your skin.
To treat bee stings, apply one drop of undiluted lavender essential oil to the sting site. If you’d rather use diluted lavender essential oil, add one drop of a neutral oil to one drop of lavender essential oil, and put it on your sting site.
Witch hazel contains astringent and anti-inflammatory properties that help reduce pain, itchiness, and swelling. Apply witch hazel to the sting site. Repeat as needed.
Witch hazel may provide extra relief if you keep it cool in the refrigerator.
Baking Soda and Water
A paste made with water and baking soda neutralizes bee venom. It also reduces pain, itchiness, and swelling. In a clean dish, combine one teaspoon of baking soda with a little water to make a paste.
Put a thin layer of the paste onto your sting site, and cover it with a clean bandage. Leave the paste on for at least 15 minutes. Rinse the sting site before you reapply the paste. You can reapply the paste as needed for symptom relief.
Papaya possesses papain, an enzyme that neutralizes bee venom. It can relieve the itchiness, pain, and swelling caused by bee stings. Raw green papayas have the highest concentration of papain.
You can place a thin slice of raw green papaya directly onto your sting site, and leave it there for 15 minutes before rinsing it off.
You can also use papaya juice to help alleviate the discomfort bee stings cause. Before you go to sleep, squeeze a raw green papaya to extract its juice.
Apply the papaya juice to the sting site, and allow it to dry before you cover the area with a clean bandage. Remove the bandage in the morning, rinse the sting site, and reapply papaya juice.
Plantain leaves can reduce the swelling, itchiness, pain, and redness bee stings cause because they possess anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. Plantain leaves can also help prevent infection. Plantain leaves also possess tannin, which helps heal your skin.
You can use a food processor to extract the juice from plantain leaves. Alternatively, place a few leaves into a plastic Ziploc bag, and use a spoon to crush them to extract the juice. Apply the juice to your sting site, cover it with a wet rag, and leave it on for 20 to 30 minutes.
Potatoes have anti-inflammatory properties. Potatoes are also alkaline, which means they can neutralize the acidic venom bees leave in your body when they sting you.
To relieve the symptoms bee stings cause, rub a slice of raw potato on your sting site for five minutes. Alternatively, you can secure a piece of raw potato to the sting site with a clean bandage.
Toothpaste neutralizes bee venom. Simply apply a little toothpaste to your sting site to achieve symptom relief. You can reapply as needed.
Bee stings often cause pain, swelling, and itching. Provided you do not have a severe allergic reaction to bee stings, there are numerous natural remedies you can use to treat them at home.
The next time you get stung by a bee, try one of these natural remedies to treat the symptoms bee stings cause.