Bee stings can be frightening, especially when you don’t see them coming. Every year, millions of people are stung by bees and other stinging insects. For some people, this is a life-or-death situation. Allergies to bee stings are very prevalent, and victims of stings can quickly go into anaphylactic shock and even die if not quickly treated with epinephrine. If you have an allergic reaction, seek medical help rather than attempting to resolve the issue at home. For those who are not allergic, bee stings are still painful and inconvenient. Luckily, there are many home remedies to minimize symptoms and promote healing.

1. Remove the Stinger

Before doing anything else, it is important to remove the stinger from the wound. While some stinging insects are able to sting multiple times, honey bees die after stinging. If you are stung by a bee, the stinger will typically break off and remain in your skin. Be careful not to squeeze or twist the stinger, which can inject more toxins and cause pain. Instead, use tweezers or your fingernails to gently pull the stinger out. Do not attempt to treat the sting prior to removing the stinger. If it breaks off under the skin, you should see your physician.