Advice below is adapted from the Dr. Greene site, which seems pretty sensible compared to others.
Bee Stings Remedies
- Remove the stinger a.s.a.p. If a little black dot remains in the wound, that's a part of the stinger. Scraping a credit card across the skin is one ready way to help remove a stinger.
- Apply following solution to the wound: 1 part meat tenderizer with 4 parts water. The enzyme in meat tenderizer (papain) breaks down the protein in bee venom that causes the pain and itching. Leave solution on for no more than 30 minutes (or it can irritate the skin). Alternatively, try an antiperspirant -- aluminum chlorohydrate reduces the effect of bee venom, but to a lesser degree.
- Apply ice or cool water to the wound for 10 to 30 minutes after the sting. This reduces the inflammation caused by the body's allergic response.
- An oral antihistamine such as Benadryl can provide added relief and help prevent the inflammation from spreading.
- Apply calamine lotion or a paste made of baking soda and water.
- Topical hydrocortisone can also provide some relief of itching and rash.
- Acetaminophen or ibuprofen can help relieve some of the pain.
In most cases, the pain will mostly disappear within 2 hours, though swelling may not be apparent until the next day. Swelling larger than 3 inches in diameter may persist for up to a week. Contact a doctor if the reaction continues to spread.
Reactions such as hives, redness, or swelling elsewhere on the body, vomiting, dizziness, hoarseness, thickened speech, or difficulty breathing, should receive prompt medical care from a doctor. Always see a doctor if there are 10 or more stings, or if any stings are inside the nose or mouth, since swelling can interfere with breathing.
Children who are severely allergic to bee stings should take extra precautions, as directed by a pediatrician. This will likely include carrying injectable epinephrine.
Anaphylactic shock can occure in as many as 0.8% of bee stings. About 50 people (in U.S) are killed by bee stings each year, and only 1 to 2 of these are children.