Spring is the season of the birds and the bees, and unfortunately bee stings are a part of the season. According to the Mayo Clinic the range of reactions to the venom of a sting is variable depending on how sensitive you are, but that only a small percentage of folks experience severe (read: anaphylaxis) response to stings and bug bites in general. Most of us experience itching, a stinging sensation and mild swelling that disappears after a day or two. Occasionally, there is a delayed response to a sting or bite that includes: fever, hives, painful joints and swollen glands.
First thing you want to do if you are stung is scrape off the stinger with the flat edge of a credit card or the back of a knife. If you pull the stinger you risk the chance of releasing more of the icky venom, and you don't want to do that.
Next, you want to calm the swelling with ice, this will help with the pain too. Applying 1% hydrocortisone cream or calamine lotion will help the symptoms subside. The home remedy of baking soda paste has always worked for me. Mix 3 teaspoons of baking soda with 1 teaspoon water and apply directly to the sting multiple times a day until the symptoms subside.
If you experience a severe reaction including facial swelling, difficulty breathing and shock call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room.
Don't forget to stop and smell the roses this spring, but check for bees first.