I got stung by a yellow jacket just 1 week shy of the end of summer… and I’m still alive to tell the tale!
Yesterday, my family and I joined our church for a community service project following morning worship. It was a rainy, 65 degree day and I was fully covered in an ensemble that was complete with raincoat and rain boots.
Picture this: me geared up, carefree, happily planting tulips alongside little Zo-zo and chatting it up with my fellow man when out of nowhere, in mid sentence, I was viciously stung by a BEE! No warning! No Fight! No idea who, what, when, where and how it happened!
You see, I’ve never been stung by a bee. In fact, the act of being stung by a bee has been my #1 summer fear since my very first summer here on earth! It has single handedly ruined outdoor picnics, BBQ’s, sporting events and playground fun for me my entire life. So naturally I was hysterical.
A swift swat to my neck sent the bee careening toward the tulip bag, but in my hysteria, I forgot to stomp the little sucker to smithereens! Instead, I looked to Phil wild-eyed and confused and said, “I think I’ve just been stung by a bee,” to which he replied, “really?” I frantically asked him what I should do, to which he stoically replied “I don’t know, I’ve never been stung by a bee.” Go figure!
So, I ran to the restroom, desperate for anyone who might be lingering in the halls to aid this damsel in distress… and there was no one in sight. Furthermore, my trip to the restroom was pointless as the bee sting was planted just underneath my jaw bone (literally the only patch of skin I had exposed) and it was impossible to see the damage in the dim light with the sink forging a gaping 5 feet distance between myself and the mirror.
I grew even more hysterical! I’d just been stung by a BEE …and I couldn’t see anything!
I scurried out of the bathroom to find Phil dashing toward me with the girls in tow (still not knowing what to do) and so I rushed to the car to grab my iPhone to google “Bee Stings!”
Thank God somebody (or something) had some answers for me… except, those answers were punctuated by words like “venom,” “excessive swelling,” “wheezing” and “anaphylaxis” which seemed to float off the screen. The hysteria set in again!
Would I turn into a swollen GHOUL!?! Could I be part of the 0.8% of bee sting victims to die from anaphylaxis… and right in front of my girls…and while doing community service for the Lord!?!
It suffices to say that the fact that I am writing this means that I wasn’t part of the 0.8%…phew! And, no ghoulish face swelling or struggling to breathe ensued. The effects were just achiness at the site, a little embarrassment, and the realization that my worst nightmare had come true…and I survived.
Here’s how you can too (in case you didn’t know):
1. Keep Calm
I totally failed at this part, but I want you to learn from my mistake (and my embarrassment) . The pain of a bee sting is kind of like a shot at the doctors office, but if you find that the pain progresses, or if you are having shortness of breath, or if you typically have bad reactions to bug bites, calmly seek medical attention… immediately.
2. Clean up the Crime Scene
Use a credit card or, tweezers, or your fingers to pull out the stinger (which is usually left by honeybee stings. Yellow Jackets don’t usually leave a stinger, which means the little buggers can sting you again and live on…argh). Use soap and water or an alcohol pad to clean the wound. Applying a cold compress within 2-3 minutes of being stung will slow the spread of the “venom”.
3. Take a Chill Pill
Pop a Tylenol or ibuprofen and grab some ice. It will help alleviate the pain and slow the spread of the venom (that word still spooks me). If you start to have an allergic reaction (swelling beyond the sting site, hives etc.) you should take Benadryl to fight the reaction. Seek medical help if you’ve been stung in the mouth or throat.
There’s only 1 week of summer remaining so you might be in the clear. But just in case you find yourself planting tulips at a community center in the next few days, you should take it from me – be prepared!
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