According to Subhadra Siegel, MD, pediatric allergist and immunologist at Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital, a member of the Westchester Medical Center Health Network (WMCHealth), less than 1% of children in the U.S. have a life-threatening allergy to bee stings. “Anaphylaxis to bee stings is much less common than people think — between .15% and .8% of children in the U.S. It is much more common for children to have a large local reaction, which is not typically lifethreatening,” she says. To identify which type of reaction (anaphylaxis or large local) your child is having, Dr. Siegel offers this: “A large, local reaction consists of swelling in the area where the patient was stung. Even if the reaction is very large, this is not dangerous. In the case of anaphylaxis, look for worsening hives that spread all over the body; the swelling of lips, tongue, or anywhere beyond the site where the child was stung; abdominal cramping; and difficulty breathing.” Here are Dr. Siegel’s tips for what to do if your child is having a reaction to a bee sting:
1 Identify if it’s anaphylaxis or a large local reaction.
2 For anaphylaxis, seek medical attention immediately. The only treatment for anaphylaxis is epinephrine (EpiPen).
3 For a large local reaction, use a cold compress and an antihistamine, such as Benadryl.