Bee Stings

Most unprovoked stings are caused by yellow jackets.  These stings cause immediate painful red swelling.  Although the pain usually resolves in 2-3 hours, the swelling may increase for up to 24 hrs.  Sometimes the swelling can be quite extensive, but this does not mean that your child is at risk for a serious or life-threatening allergic reaction.  Multiple stings (usually more than 10) can cause vomiting, headache, or fever.  A sting inside the mouth or on the tongue can cause swelling that can interfere with breathing.


  • If a honeybee stung your child, you may see a small black stinger in the bite.  Remove it by scraping it off.
  •  Apply ice to reduce the swelling.  Use Benadryl and topical hydrocortisone to limit swelling.
  • Give your child ibuprofen or Tylenol for pain.


During office hours if:

  • the swelling continues to spread after 24 hours
  • you have other questions or concerns

Immediately if:

  • If breathing or swallowing is difficult
  • Extensive hives are present
  • There are 10 or more stings
  • A sting occurs in the mouth

Call or Visit

  • phone: (616) 243-9515

  • FAX: (616) 243-1815

  • after hours: (616) 776-7401

  • or contact us via the Patient Portal

  • Alger Pediatrics
    733 Alger St. SE
    Grand Rapids, MI 49507