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Bee stings, wasp stings and ant bites. What to do?

A bee sting, wasp sting and ant bite are quite unpleasant and can cause instant pain to the area. Here in Australia they are very common. They also can commonly cause anaphylaxis, which is a severe type of allergic reaction.

Wasps are more aggressive than bees and are attracted to food and drinks, so make sure you check all food and drink containers before you eat or drink from them when outdoors. Bees are commonly stepped on by people walking outside with bare feet, and ant bites usually occur when someone is standing or sitting down on the ground outside.

Symptoms include redness, swelling, itchiness and pain. For these you can use soapy water to clean the area and apply an ice pack to reduce pain and swelling. The stinger will need to be removed if stung by a bee. Ensure you do this by scraping a firm object across the bite - such as your license card or fingernail. Avoid tweezers, as this will possibly squeeze more venom into your skin. If the irritation persists you can apply a topical cream and take some antihistamine tablets.

If you have been bitten by a bee or wasp and have a known allergy that can cause anaphylaxis, you or someone with you must call 000. If you or someone with you starts to experience any of the follow symptoms it may be anaphylactic shock and you must call 000 immediately:


  •      swelling of the mouth, throat or tongue,
  •      difficulty swallowing, breathing or wheezing,
  •      difficulty talking,
  •      an instant rash appears,
  •      itching around eyes, ears, lips and throat occurs
  •      hot flushes, nausea or vomiting
  •      feeling weak, collapsing or falling unconscious.


If they have an adrenaline pen (EpiPen) with them this should be administered and still call 000. Further medical care and treatment is essential after use of an Epipen.

To protect yourself from these insects you should wear clothing that covers your arms and legs, use insect repellent and stay away from known infested areas. If you are gardening wear gloves, and if outside wear shoes on your feet.


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