Most of us, when under attack by a bee, start performing what I call the "bumblebee boogie". We jump to the left, and to the right, and then wave our arms in all directions like some sort of crazed lunatic.
To help prevent any awkward outdoor moments for your little ones, who embarrass so easily, just follow these simple "bee-etiquette" dos and don'ts:
What To Do:
1. Protect your children:
—Dress them appropriately. If you are taking your kids to an area prone to bees, dress them in light-colored clothing, closed-toe shoes, and top them off with a hat.
—Teach them the "be still and blow" rule. If a bee lands on them, they should remain quiet, sit still, and gently blow the bee off.
2. Treat the sting:
If a sting occurs, follow these steps:
—Remove the stinger. Honeybees, which are the "fuzzy kind", will often leave their stinger in the skin. It is important to remove the stinger as soon as possible by gently scraping it with a credit card or fingernail. Do not squeeze it out with tweezers as this may cause the release of more venom.
—Apply ice and elevate the affected area for 10 to 30 minutes to decrease swelling.
—Treat the itching and pain. Calamine or Benadryl lotions, or hydrocortisone cream may be helpful in reducing the itch that is often associated with the stings. I also recommend Tylenol for pain. A simple at-home solution is to combine one part meat tenderizer with four parts water and apply to the affected area for no longer than 30 minutes. Plan B: You can apply regular underarm deodorant to the sting. Although this method is not as effective as the others, it may provide some relief in a pinch.
3. Learn to recognize an emergency: Approximately 3 percent of children may experience severe reactions to bee stings. Symptoms to watch out for include: hives, itching in other areas, difficulty breathing or swallowing, hoarseness, stomach cramps, nausea, and vomiting. If your child experiences any of these symptoms, or is stung more than 10 times, it is important to call a doctor right away.
What NOT to do:
1. Dress your child like a flower. If you dress your kids up like daisies and daffodils, they are likely to be treated as such.
2. Let your little girls play in your Victoria's Secret lotion collection prior to a trip to the park. If this happens, you will be fighting off the bees — and the boys!
3. Run like a bat out of hell. This may scare the bee and anyone who may be watching.
We all want to protect our children but despite all hard work, accidents happen. Teaching our kids commonsense lessons about interactions with bees will hopefully help lessen the chances of a sting. Just remember, if and when your child does have a bee encounter, tell them that although their first instinct may be to break out and boogie, have them try to do the impossible ? be still and very, very quiet.
*P.S.S. (Parent Sanity Saver): If picnicking with young children, I highly recommend sippy cups with valves and lids over juice boxes. Juice boxes and pouches spill very easily — which may lead to an unwelcome visit from the local hornets.
TARA KOMPARE is a Doctor of Pharmacy, mother of two, and chocoholic. Email questions/comments to firstname.lastname@example.org or visit her website at www.themedicinemom.com.