Bee or Yellow Jacket Sting

Disponible En Espanol

Care at Home

  • TRY TO REMOVE THE STINGER (IF PRESENT): * Only honey bees leave a stinger. * The stinger looks like a tiny black dot in the sting. * Use a fingernail or credit card edge to scrape it off. * If the stinger is below the skin surface, leave it alone.  It will come out with normal skin shedding.
  • MEAT TENDERIZER: * Make a meat tenderizer paste with a little water. Use a cotton ball to rub it on the sting. Do this once for 20 minutes. Reason: This may neutralize the venom and reduce the pain and swelling. Caution: Do not use near the eye. * If you don't have any, use an aluminum-based deodorant. You can also put a baking soda paste on the sting. Do this for 20 minutes.
  • WHAT TO EXPECT: * Severe pain or burning at the site lasts 1 to 2 hours. * Normal swelling from venom can increase for 48 hours after the sting. * The redness can last 3 days. * The swelling can last 7 days.
  • CALL YOUR DOCTOR IF: * Trouble breathing or swallowing occurs (mainly during the 2 hours after the sting.) CALL 911. * Redness gets larger after 2 days * Swelling becomes huge * Sting starts to look infected * Your child becomes worse
  • PAIN MEDICINE: * To help with the pain, give acetaminophen (such as Tylenol) or ibuprofen. Use as needed. See Dose Table.
  • ALLERGY MEDICINE: * For hives or severe itching, give a dose of Benadryl. See Dose Table.
  • STEROID CREAM: * For itching or swelling, put 1% hydrocortisone cream on the sting. No prescription is needed. * Use 3 times per day.  
  • COLD PACK: * If pain does not improve after using the meat tenderizer paste, rub with an ice cube. * Do this for 20 minutes.
  • WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW: * Bee stings are common. * The main symptoms are pain and redness. * The swelling can be large. This does not mean it's an allergy. * Here is some care advice that should help.


The information contained in these topics is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, it is provided for educational purposes only. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information.

Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider before starting any new treatment or discontinuing an existing treatment. Talk with your healthcare provider about any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Nothing contained in these topics is intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment.

  • Not a Substitute - The information and materials in Pediatric HouseCalls Symptom Checker should not be used as a substitute for the care and knowledge that your physician can provide to you.
  • Supplement - The information and materials presented here in Pediatric HouseCalls Symptom Checker are meant to supplement the information that you obtain from your physician. If there is a disagreement between the information presented herein and what your physician has told you -- it is more likely that your physician is correct. He or she has the benefit of knowing your child's medical problems.
  • Limitations - You should recognize that the information and materials presented here in Pediatric HouseCalls Symptom Checker have the following limitations, in comparison to being examined by your own physician:
    • You can have a conversation with your child's doctor.
    • Your child's doctor can perform a physical examination and any necessary tests.
    • Your child could have an underlying medical problem that requires a physician to detect.
    • If your child is taking medications, they could influence how he experiences various symptoms.

If you think that your child is having a medical emergency, call 911 or the number for the local emergency ambulance service NOW!

And when in doubt, call your child's doctor NOW or go to the closest emergency department.

The search for nearby emergency and urgent care facilities is based upon Google search parameters. You will get results based on how facilities manage their website information.

By using this website, you accept the information provided herein "AS IS." Neither publishers nor the providers of the information contained herein will have any liability to you arising out of your use of the information contained herein or make any expressed or implied warranty regarding the accuracy, content, completeness, reliability, or efficacy of the information contained within this website.