At this time of year in Western New York, there are an abundance of bees building nests and visiting the flowers. Protecting your child from bee stings becomes a priority. Stings can be scary, painful and dangerous for anyone with allergies. Fortunately, there are some simple steps to help minimize the risk.
Take the time to trim trees, bushes and shrubbery around the home where bees tend to build their hives. Discourage kids from playing in or near the foliage. Make sure to keep food and beverages covered when serving in outdoor areas and don’t procrastinate over clean up. Keep the lid on trash cans and rinse out soda cans and bottles prior to placing them in the recycle bin. Bees are drawn to the residue from sugary foods and drinks. Should you spot bees buzzing around your picnic, be especially mindful of covering your child’s drink. Bees can crawl inside and deliver a sting when your child takes a sip. It’s also best to avoid floral-scented shampoo, conditioner, lotion, soap and perfume as bees love sweet fragrances. They are attracted by anything that smells or looks like a flower. Avoid dressing children in floral patterns and neon colors. Choose more neutral tones such as white, beige and khaki for outside play and consider long pants and a hat. While kids enjoy running around barefoot, closed-toe shoes are safer.
Bees are often found on flowering ground cover and stepping on one barefoot is an unpleasant surprise. If your child is stung, redness, swelling and pain around the site of the sting is common. The pain should lessen considerably within a few hours. Only about 3% of people suffer allergic reactions. However, if your child experiences trouble breathing, dizziness, nausea, hives, vomiting or diarrhea, head to the emergency room right away. In the majority of cases, you can remove the stinger with tweezers or swipe the area with a credit card or other hard, flat object. Clean the sting and apply a hydrocortisone cream. Benadryl and ibuprofen are effective for alleviating pain, irritation and swelling. You can also use ice, a smear of honey, crushed garlic cloves or a paste created from baking soda and water.