In the event of a single bee sting that doesn't cause an allergic reaction, the best course of action is to remove the stinger, wash the area, and apply ice or a cold compress, advises Mayo Clinic. Applying hydrocortisone cream or calamine lotion eases itching or swelling.
An oral antihistamine can also alleviate itching and swelling, and an over-the-counter oral analgesic, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, can soothe any pain from the sting, notes WebMD. If the patient has not had a tetanus booster within the past 10 years, he should get one in the next few days.
If the patient incurs multiple bee stings, receives stings in the mouth or nose, has a known allergy to bee stings, or experiences wheezing, breathing difficulties or lowered blood pressure, he requires emergency medical treatment, according to MedicineNet. This may include the administration of epinephrine to reduce the allergic response; oxygen, beta agonists and/or intravenous antihistamines and cortisone to facilitate breathing; or cardiopulmonary resuscitation if the patient stops breathing or his heart stops beating, explains Mayo Clinic.
For a person with a known allergy to bee stings, a doctor can prescribe an emergency epinephrine autoinjector, such as EpiPen or Twinject, to inject into the thigh in the event of a bee sting, notes Mayo Clinic. The allergic person needs to carry the autoinjector with him at all times and know how to use it. He can also wear a medical identification bracelet that lets emergency medical personnel know about his allergy.