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Lancet. 1996 Aug 3;348(9023):301-2.

Removing bee stings.

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Department of Entomology, University of California, Riverside 92521, USA.



Conventional advice on immediate treatment of honey-bee stings has emphasised that the sting should be scraped off, never pinched. The morphology of the sting suggested little basis for this advice, which is likely to slow down removal of the sting.


The response to honey-bee stings was assayed with a measurement of the size of the resulting weal. Injection of known quantities of venom showed that this measurement is a good indicator of envenomisation.


Weal size, and thus envenomisation, increased as the time from stinging to removal of the sting increased, even within a few seconds. There was no difference in response between stings scraped or pinched off after 2 s.


These data suggest that advice to patients on the immediate treatment of bee stings should emphasise quick removal, without concern for the method of removal.

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[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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