Preparing a First Aid Kit for Home or Travel

W. Steven Pray, Ph.D., R.Ph., Professor of Nonprescription Products and Devices, School of Pharmacy, Southwestern Oklahoma State University, Weatherford, OK

US Pharmacist. 2001;26(6) 

In This Article

First Aid for Insect Stings

When a patient is stung by a bee or other insect, he or she should remove the stinger immediately by scraping it out with a fingernail or wiping a clean piece of gauze over the area. Use of tweezers is not advised since squeezing the stinger forces more venom into the skin. Once the stinger is removed, the area should be washed with soap and water, and ice should be applied to reduce the swelling. Acetaminophen, ibuprofen or naproxen sodium may effectively relieve the pain and an antihistamine will relieve the itching and swelling. However, if the patient has been stung in the mouth or experiences symptoms of allergy to the insect's venom, including hives, difficulty in breathing or swallowing, wheezing, dizziness or confusion, he or she should seek emergency care. If patients have a known allergy to insect stings, they should consult a physician to discuss carrying a prescription epinephrine self-administration sting kit with them.


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