As we push into spring and more people spend time outside, the possibility of bee stings becomes increasingly prevalent.
Unless you’re allergic to bee sting venom, it’s probably not a major concern, but when stung multiple times, anyone can have hypersensitivity, said Dr. Brian Page, a physician at Banner Ironwood Medical Center.
While there are a relatively few number of incidences where people are stung multiple times, as people become more active outdoors in the spring and citrus tree begin to bloom, the risk increases.
People who agitate hives — intentional or not — cause most multiple bee stings and swarms, according to public safety officials.While there are Africanized bees in Arizona (the first death caused by Africanized bees occurred in 1995), most bees won’t attack people unless they are first disturbed, officials said.
If you are attacked by a swarm of bees, Page offers these tips:
• Cover your face and eyes with your hands.
• Run into a building or a car, whichever is closer; even if bees follow you in, it prevents more from attacking you.
• Don’t jump into a pool; the bees will likely be there when you emerge.
• Call 911 immediately if someone is being attacked.
“The first line of treatment is to remove the stingers,” Page said. “The stingers continue to pulsate even after it is detached from the bee and it is injecting venom into your body.”
By using a credit card to scrape or tweezers to pluck out the stinger, it prevents it from stinging someone else, he said. Also, use ice on the affected area since it slows inflammatory response.
While not all bee stings need to be treated at the hospital, sometimes it’s not a bad idea to seek assistance at a medical center, Page said.
“Whenever in doubt, always err on the side of caution,” Page said. “Come to the ER because that’s what we’re here for.”