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Irvine Urgent Care is staffed by board-certified family & emergency physicians who are skilled in the treatment of non-life-threatening injuries and illnesses.



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Bee Stings

Remember to run away if possible.

A bee will sting to defend itself or its hive. All bees will do this. If you swat a bee and crush it then the body of the bee produces a chemical that will incite other bees to attack in greater numbers. The best thing to do if faced by attacking bees is to run away as fast as you can. Seek cover in a car or nearby building. Do not try to swat the bees away – you are only likely to provoke a more severe attack. Bees tend to sting the face and head, so try to cover your nose and mouth with your hands while running. Never stand still or get yourself boxed into a place outdoors where you cannot escape the attacking bees. SEEK SHELTER. Run for an enclosed building or vehicle. DO NOT LOCK THE DOORS! Others may be trying to escape the bees as well. Bees that do get inside usually become disoriented and go to the light at the windows. Honeybees will chase you for about fifty yards or so. African bees will chase you for up to one hundred and fifty yards.

How to Avoid Being Stung

Remember that most bee stings happen in the autumn or fall. Preventing bee stings should focus on not attracting bees and on not alarming them if they are present. It sounds too obvious to mention - but remember that bees are naturally programmed to be attracted by bright colors and by strong scent (by things that look and smell like flowers in other words!). Avoid attracting bees by avoiding fragrances – including soap, shampoo and hair spray. Bright colors attract bees. Open food containers act like magnets to bees and wasps – particularly sugar based foods. Keep food wrapped up and food containers closed. Be particularly careful with soft drinks in cans or bottles.

Bee Sting Treatment - Why is a Bee Sting Painful

A bee sting has a barb on the end. When the bee stinger enters skin it is caught by the barb and torn away from the bee's body. A little sac of venom is torn away from the bee along with the sting and this sac has small muscles that can continue to pump bee sting venom into the skin for up to ten minutes. The barbed ends of the sting also cause it to work its way deeper into the skin with passing minute African or Africanized bees have become the subject of several myths and faulty information about them is common. The truth about Africanized bees is:

  • Africanized bees cannot kill you with a single sting – unless you are allergic to bee stings. But in this sense they are no more “deadly” than any other kind of bee. They are not the “killer bee” that their press reports might have you believe
  • Single sting from an African bee has less venom than a normal honeybee and is certainly no more painful
  • Unless you are allergic to the venom then a single bee sting is painful but not life threatening • Africanized bees do not actively seek out victims – they will attack in defense of their hive – but they are aggressive in defending their territory.
  • Like all bees – Africanized bees can only sting you once and then they die. It is a myth that they can sting you repeatedly.

Can bee stings kill you? Well, leaving allergy aside, it would take about 10 stings for each pound of body weight to cause a serious risk of death. This equates to about 1,500 stings at once for a 150-pound person. This is not likely except in exceptional circumstances.

Sting First Aid:

Remember that a bee can only sting once before it dies – unlike a wasp, which might deliver multiple stings.


Remove the stinger by scraping it away sideways with your fingernail, a knife blade or the edge of a credit card. Try not to grab it with your nails or with tweezers might only succeed in pumping more of the venom into your skin but remember – it's the speed of removal that makes the difference to how painful the sting is. In reality – any method of getting the sting out is effective as long as it's quick. If you see a little black dot in the middle of the red area then you can be pretty sure that the stinger is still in the skin – try harder to get it out. Don't leave the stinger in the skin – it will only lead to increased pain. Don't try to suck the wound or use meat tenderizer – there's a risk of infection if you do.

  • Apply ice or cold pack to the area and leave it on for up to ten minutes
  • Apply 0.5 percent or 1 percent hydrocortisone cream, calamine lotion or a baking soda paste — with a ratio of 3 teaspoons baking soda to 1 teaspoon water — to the bite or sting several times a day until your symptoms subside.
  • If you have it to hand then apply one of the many bee sting ointments or creams. Hydrocortisone cream or any cream with steroid in it is likely to help minimize any inflammation and lessen the pain of the sting.
  • Take an antihistamine containing diphenhydramine (Benadryl, Tylenol Severe Allergy) or chlorpheniramine maleate (Chlor-Trimeton, Teldrin).


Symptoms of bee sting allergy and anaphylactic shock include:

  • Rapid swelling around the eyes, lips, tongue, or throat.
  • Difficulty breathing.
  • Wheezing or hoarseness.
  • Itching, cramping, or numbness that is severe.
  • Dizziness
  • A reddish rash, or hives.
  • Stomach cramps.
  • Loss of consciousness.

You are stung and develop any of the symptoms of anaphylactic shock.

Get medical help immediately CALL 911.

You are allergic to bee or wasp stings and you are stung. You are at risk of anaphylactic shock, even if your reaction to previous stings was mild; you may need emergency treatment. (See your doctor to determine if you are allergic.)Take these actions immediately while waiting with an affected person for medical help:

  1. Check for special medications that the person might be carrying to treat an allergic attack, such as an auto-injector of epinephrine (for example, EpiPen). Administer the drug as directed — usually by pressing the auto-injector against the person's thigh and holding it in place for several seconds. Massage the injection site for 10 seconds to enhance absorption.
  2. After administering epinephrine, have the person take an antihistamine pill if he or she is able to do so without choking.
  3. Have the person lie still on his or her back with feet higher than the head.
  4. Loosen tight clothing and cover the person with a blanket. Don't give anything to drink.
  5. If there's vomiting or bleeding from the mouth, turn the person on his or her side to prevent choking.
  6. If there are no signs of circulation (breathing, coughing or movement), begin CPR.

If your doctor has prescribed an auto-injector of epinephrine, read the instructions before a problem develops and also have your household members read them.

DMedical Servicesisclaimers

Irvine Urgent Care does not provide medical advice, such as that provided through a direct consultation and is not intended to replace it. The information given are only educational and informative in nature and cannot in any way be used to represent a complete analysis or diagnosis.

We cannot respond to questions regarding specific medical cases, or make recommendations regarding diagnosis and therapy. Those issues should be addressed directly with your health care practitioner.

It is not our intention to provide specific medical advice to users of its website, instead we provide users with information to help them better understand their health, diagnosed conditions, and the current approaches related to treatment, prevention, screening, and supportive care.

Ivine Urgent Care & Family Clinic urges you to consult with a qualified health care professional for diagnosis and answers to their personal medical questions.

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