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Five in Pierce County Injured by Bee Stings

July 6, 2010

Tacoma-Pierce County WA | July 6, 2010 | ? Five people were taken to a Pierce County hospital as a result of being stung by bees or wasps during the past week. All five were in anaphylactic shock because of allergy to the venom. This is an unusually high number of allergic reactions. The state Department of Health has looked at three of the insects, which they said are common yellow jackets. One hive, known to contain yellow jackets that stung at least one of the victims, has been found and destroyed.

Health effects of a bee or wasp sting range from swelling, mild discomfort, and pain to the potentially lethal reaction of anaphylactic shock.

Signs of an allergic reaction to stings include the following, often within minutes of being stung:

Swelling, particularly that moves from the site of the sting to other locations (especially around the face or neck);

Hives, not only at the site of the bite, but across the body;

Nausea;

Choking and difficult breathing;

Blue coloration of the lips and face (from lack of oxygen); and,

Dizziness and loss of consciousness.

If someone shows these signs, dial 9-1-1 immediately and seek medical help.

For those not allergic to the venom, it is normal for the area where the sting occurred to form a lump, turn red and itch.

Prevention is important. Most bees or wasps will only sting if attacked. Stay away from known nests and encourage children not to try to catch a bee or wasp. Wear long sleeves and avoid scented products if you are going to be working or playing outside.

If someone is stung, wash the site with soap and water. If you can see the stinger, remove it by scaping a fingernail over the area, or wiping it with a gauze pad. Do not squeeze the stinger since this will cause more venom to go into the skin. Apply ice to reduce swelling.

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