ZocdocAnswersDo bee stings cause infections?

Question

Do bee stings cause infections?

I got stung by a bee three days ago and it is still red. It has gotten bigger too. Is it infected? Can a bee sting get infected?

Answer

I would suggest that you go to see your primary care doctor. Right after getting a bee sting, the poisons in the sting will cause dilation of the blood vessels and the release of inflammatory chemicals at the site of the sting. This will lead to a painful or itchy inflamed area right around the sting. However, this reaction to the venom is relatively quick to recover, usually within a day or so. Therefore, if after three days you think that the redness around the sting is actually getting worse, you need to get that checked out. A bee sting does create an opening in the skin through which bacteria can potentially get in and set up an infection. Other potential signs of a skin infection, other than spreading redness, would also include warmth of the skin surrounding the sting, fever, and any discharge of pus or other material from the sting. Your primary care doctor will be able to examine the area to determine if it is infected. If they think that it is indeed infected, then you will probably need a prescription for antibiotics in order to help get the infection under control. Good luck, and I hope this issue resolves quickly!

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