top of page

How To Treat Bee / Wasp Stings - Summer First Aid

How To Treat Bee Or Wasp Stings

As the warmer weather of summer approaches the likeliness of being stung by a bee or wasp will increase. I’m sure you just like us, will be out in the garden having BBQs, laying on the beach or going for long walks through the hills … unfortunately, these are all places that bees and wasps love to spend the summer as well.

In most cases wasp and bee stings are not serious, resulting in a small swollen lump that will be red, itchy and slightly painful for a few days. These people will experience a mild allergic reaction where an area of skin will become swollen and this is not anything to worry about as long as it reduces within a few days.

Signs of a Allergic Reaction

If you observe any of the signs below, call 999 as they could be signs of an anaphylactic reaction, which is life threatening.

​Difficulty breathing


Swelling of the face

​Swelling of the throat

Treating Someone Who Is Not Allergic To Bee/Wasp Stings:

  1. If the sting is visible, gently scrape it off the skin using a bank/credit card or similar object. Avoid squeezing or pinching the stinger, as it can release more venom.

  2. Elevate the injury if possible and apply a cold compress such as a flannel soaked in cold water or an ice pack wrapped in a tea towel for 10 - 15 minutes. You can repeat this throughout the day if needed.

  3. Seek medical advice through the 111 service, if the pain or swelling persists.

  4. If the sting is in the mouth, give an ice cube to suck on (if appropriate), or sips of cold water.

  5. Watch and observe the casualty for a more serious allergic reaction.

Treating Someone Who Is Allergic To Bee/Wasp Stings:

In cases of more severe allergic reactions, which can be extremely dangerous (known as anaphylaxis), the body's immune system undergoes a massive overreaction. During an anaphylactic reaction, the immune cells in the body release large amounts of a chemical called histamine. This can result in the development of a rash, itching, and, more critically, life-threatening issues affecting the airway, breathing, and/or circulation (ABC).

Airway: The tongue, lips, or throat may swell, and the person may experience a hoarse voice.

Breathing: Breathing may become difficult and wheezy, resembling an asthma attack.

Circulation: Symptoms may include paleness, coldness, clamminess, dizziness, and a feeling of faintness.

It's possible for the person to exhibit only one of these life-threatening ABC problems, but it's also possible for them to experience all three simultaneously!

  1. Dial 999/112 for emergency help

  2. If breathing is not impaired, lay the casualty down and raise the legs.

  3. Check to see if the person is carrying an auto-injector of Adrenaline such as an EpiPen, and assist them to use this.

  4. The auto-injector of adrenaline could save their life if given quickly, follow our guide on using an EpiPen by watching the video below. 

  5. If the casualty becomes unconscious, check their airway and breathing, and initiate Basic Life Support if necessary.

How Use An Episode:

How To Prevent Bee & Wasp Stings

  • When meeting wasps, hornets or bees stay calm and move away slowly. Do not wave your arms or try swatting them as this can agitate them and make them feel threatened. 

  • Apply insect repellent to exposed areas of the skin.

  • When having picnics or hiking through the landscape, try to avoid areas where there is stagnant water, rubbish or compost. These areas are popular for wasps, bees and hornets to be lurking.



bottom of page