Robin has been keeping bees and harvesting honey for many years. She enjoys being a backyard beekeeper.
Before and After Photos
What to Do if a Bee Has Stung You in the Eye
Being stung by a bee can be a very scary occurrence; if you are stung in the eye it can be days before you are back to normal. Being a beekeeper, I expect to be stung; it's part of the job. I didn't, however, expect to be stung in the eye.
This article includes:
- Information on treatments—both home remedies as well as prescriptions.
- A photo progression chronicling the recovery of my facial swelling from hours after the sting up to six days when I was almost fully recovered.
- Types of reactions.
- Information on how long the itching and swelling will last.
- Information on bee biology.
How to Treat a Non-Allergenic Bee Sting: Act Fast!
Being a beekeeper and going through extensive training, you learn how to properly remove bee stingers and treat stings. The sting that I had to my eye however, needed some medical attention. The advice that I give is from my training as a beekeeper and from the doctor that I saw. In most cases, doctor involvement is not needed for non-allergic reactions. However, if you are stung near your eye, you may choose to get prescription medication from your doctor.
- After a bee stings, a stinger and sac of venom is left behind in your skin. To reduce the amount of venom in your body remove stinger and bag of venom as quickly as possible. You can SCRAPE the stinger and bag of venom out of your skin with a fingernail or other similar object. Do not pull out stinger or squeeze the location as more venom can be released. The longer that you leave in the stinger, the more venom will be left in your body causing swelling and itchiness.
- Once the stinger is removed, wash area with soap and water and apply antiseptic and soothing cream like hydrocortisone.
- If possible, and if over two years of age and not pregnant, immediately take an antihistamine, e.g., Benadryl, to reduce swelling and itching. (When I was stung on my finger, I had minimal swelling and itching because I took a Benadryl immediately. I did not take a Benadryl shortly after my facial sting because I didn't want to fall asleep. It was a big mistake.)
- Apply ice pack to site to reduce swelling and for pain relief.
- For additional pain relief, you can take an anti-inflammatory like ibuprofen.
Over-the-Counter, Prescription, and Home Remedy Bee Sting Treatments
|Over the Counter||Prescription (The doctor that I saw recommended the following treatments)||Home Remedies for Bee Stings (apply to site of sting)|
Soap and water
Dexamethasone (Decadron) a corticosteroid to treat allergy. It decreases your body's natural defense response and reduces symptoms such as swelling and allergic-type reactions
Meat tenderizer and water paste
Famotide (Pepcid) an H2 Histamine blocker.
Hydrocortisone Cream or Calamine Lotion
Hydroxyzine (Atarax) treats itching. Blocks natural substance (histamine) that your body makes during an allergic reaction. Causes drowsiness.
Benadryl or other Antihistamine
Baking soda and water paste
Chewed plantain leaf
Crushed basil or parsley leaves
These treatments are NOT for those that have severe allergic reactions. For severe allergic reactions, epinephrine will need to be injected to stop the progression of symptoms.
Severe allergic reactions can result in death within minutes of being stung. Having an Epi-Pen on hand if you are allergic to bees is a must. I had a reaction to the sting that was fairly severe, mainly due to the location of the sting on my eyelid. I, however, did NOT have an allergic reaction to the venom. It is very rare for someone to be allergic to bee venom, however, around 50 people a year die from a severe allergic reaction to a bee sting.
Medications I Took After the Bee Sting
This treatment was under the advisement of an emergency room doctor:
Day 1: Benadryl every 8 hours and ice.
Day 2: Benadryl in the morning. Was given prescription in the afternoon. Took 10mg of Dexamethasone (Decadron), one tablet of Hydroxyzine, and one tablet of Famotidine.
Day 3-6: Hydroxyzine and Famotidine until swelling and itching were gone as prescribed.
Three Types of Bee Sting Reactions and Symptoms
Pain at site of sting
Pain around site of sting
MEDICAL ATTENTION IS NEEDED IMMEDIATELY
Swelling at site of sting
Swelling can extend beyond site of sting. If stung in eye, could radiate to bridge of nose, down cheek, and to other eye
Difficulty breathing and swallowing
Redness at site of sting
Redness around site of sting
Face, throat and mouth swelling
Increased heart rate
Hives (red and itchy spots) beyond site of sting
Drop in blood pressure
Restlessness or Anxiety