Delayed reaction to bee sting?
June 24, 2010 7:20 AM   Subscribe

Is my delayed reaction to a honey bee sting normal?

I was stung by a honeybee on the hand about a week ago. I had never been stung by one previously. My reaction was very mild, just some minor pain and swelling in the immediate vicinity of the sting. By the next day, the symptoms were gone and my hand seemed back to normal. Yesterday, however, I woke up with significant swelling, redness, and itching about three inches in diameter on the site where I had been stung. Is this just a delayed reaction to the venom? Or could it be an infection that I should go see a doctor about?
posted by mahamandarava to Health & Fitness (9 answers total)
Venom does not cause a delayed reaction, it causes an immediate reaction. What you have is undoubtedly an infection. Whether it is an infection that requires medical treatment, or one that you could treat yourself by applying a topical disinfectant, I don't know. Personally I get good results with tincture of iodine; you might want to try it.
posted by grizzled at 7:24 AM on June 24, 2010

Happens to me every time for any sting based on formic acid (bees, wasps, ants).
posted by flabdablet at 7:27 AM on June 24, 2010

Seconding what flabdablet said. Also, since you slept on it, the swelling may be more apparent this morning because of the normal shifting of retained fluid in the body while laying prone for a long period of time. Unless it gets worse, hurts, or doesn't clear up within a reasonable time, I wouldn't worry.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 8:05 AM on June 24, 2010

I'm also leaning toward infection.

Treat for both: Take Benadryl for the allergic side, clean thoroughly with a topical antiseptic (alcohol is good), and after that swipe it with Hydrogen Peroxide at regular intervals (to introduce oxygen).

If it gets *worse*, get to a doctor. You might need antibiotics.
posted by Citrus at 8:47 AM on June 24, 2010

Mine always itch like mad, but not until a day or two later.
posted by bunji at 10:16 AM on June 24, 2010

My daughter got that, it turned out to be cellulitis, and she had to go to the emergency room for antibiotics.
posted by Braunhead at 10:30 AM on June 24, 2010

Three inches in diameter? I'd see a doctor. Do you have a local urgent care place you could go to?
posted by limeonaire at 5:01 PM on June 24, 2010

My wife was bitten by a horsefly once and had the same symptoms. It was itchy and painful, but it went away eventually (very slowly). YMMV.
posted by zardoz at 8:53 PM on June 24, 2010

Well, the swelling went away a couple days after I originally posted this, so I´m guess it was just a delayed allergic reaction and not an infection. Thanks everyone for your comments.
posted by mahamandarava at 5:28 PM on July 24, 2010

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