Bee stings are one of the most annoying parts of summer. But in most cases, they’re easy to treat at home.
If you get stung by a bee, a normal reaction can include redness, swelling, and pain near the wound. These symptoms should subside within a few hours, and you can use ice, anti-itch cream, and Advil or Tylenol to help relieve them sooner.
But if you have an allergic reaction to a bee sting, you may want to seek medical attention. Here’s what you should know to treat your bee sting.
How to treat a bee sting
Bee stings are typically more of a nuisance than they are dangerous. Most people have a mild reaction that doesn’t last longer than a few hours.
If you experience a normal, localized reaction, you should be able to effectively treat your bee sting at home, says David Cutler, MD, family medicine physician at Providence Saint John’s Health Center.
First, it’s important to immediately remove the stinger from your skin, if it’s still there. You’ll see a small black dot at the sting site, if so.
Some types of bees — like honey bees — have barbed stingers that remain in your skin. Other types — like carpenter bees, or venomous insects like wasps — have smooth stingers that stay attached to the insect, and they can sting you multiple times before flying away.
1. Use a scraping motion with a flat, blunt object like a credit card across the affected area to remove the stinger.
2. Don’t try to pull the stinger out with tweezers or your fingers — this could result in even more venom squeezing into the skin.
3. Once the stinger is removed, wash the site with soap and water.
After you remove the stinger, you can use a few remedies to treat the pain, itchiness, and swelling that can accompany a bee sting:
Apply ice or a cold compress at the sting site for about 20 minutes every hour to ease pain and reduce swelling. You should wrap the ice in a cloth or towel to protect your skin.
Use hydrocortisone cream or calamine lotion to help reduce itchiness at the site.
An over-the-counter antihistamine like Zyrtec or Claritin can also reduce itchiness.
Pain relievers like Advil (ibuprofen) or Tylenol (acetaminophen) can help reduce pain, swelling, and general discomfort.
Spray or creams that contain an anesthetic, like Solarcaine, can also help ease pain or itchiness. These are widely available over-the-counter.
Other natural remedies like applying honey, baking soda, or apple cider vinegar to the sting site might help some people, Cutler says, but there’s not much scientific evidence that these treatment methods are effective.
What to do if you have an allergic reaction
About 5% to 7.5% of Americans will experience an allergic reaction to an insect sting at some points in their lives, according to the Journal of Asthma and Allergy.
Signs of an allergic reaction from a bee sting include:
Excessive itchiness that persists past a few hours
Swelling in other areas of your body, in addition to the sting site
According to Cutler, most allergic reactions are mild or moderate, and can still be treated at home with antihistamines and ice. But some allergic reactions are more severe.
In fact, about 3% of adults who experience insect stings develop a life-threatening allergic reaction known as anaphylaxis, which does require immediate medical attention. It’s estimated that 90 to 100 Americans die every year due to anaphylaxis from an insect sting.
Signs of anaphylaxis can occur within minutes of a sting and include:
Swelling of tongue or throat
In the case of anaphylaxis, you must be treated with an adrenaline injection, known as epinephrine. This counteracts the hormones your body releases in response to the sting and prevents your body from going into shock, Cutler says.
If you’ve had a mild or moderate allergic reaction to an insect sting before, you should discuss this with your doctor, as this may increase your risk for anaphylaxis in the future. Those at risk can get a prescription for an epi-pen, which allows you to administer epinephrine yourself if you have a severe reaction.
When to see a doctor
Most of the time, you should be able to treat your bee sting at home. However, it is still important to monitor symptoms and seek medical attention immediately if you experience any signs of anaphylaxis, like difficulty breathing or lightheadedness.
And if you do experience a moderate allergic reaction to a bee sting, you should discuss it with your doctor afterwards, because you could be at a higher risk of having a more severe reaction if stung again.
Gone are the days of burglars randomly bursting in with ski masks. Today’s criminals will watch and wait until just the right moment before attempting a break-in.
A broken window
Some criminals will throw a rock through a house or car window before even trying to break in, just to see what happens, says Joel Logan, COO of Las Vegas-based Reliance Security. If an alarm goes off and neighbors peer outside to see what’s happening, they might be scared off. But if the homeowners are clearly out of the house or the police never arrive, they might break in that night or soon after. Call the police right away if you’re home, and install motion-sensor floodlights for when you aren’t there, Logan recommends. Learn these 20 secrets a home security installer won’t tell you to keep your home even safer.
A strolling stranger
You probably don’t know everyone in your neighborhood, but a criminal scoping out the area likely won’t just look like an innocent walker. If someone is walking by repeatedly, check their body language, says Logan. “If you take your dog for a walk, you just walk around the neighborhood. You’re not always checking behind you or looking over your shoulder,” he says. Pay attention to clothing, too. Most people taking a walk for the sake of fitness will be wearing workout gear, so someone in plainclothes who’s out for long periods of time might be up to no good, adds Everett Stern, intelligence director of private intelligence company Tactical Rabbit. Any time you’re feeling uneasy, call the police, he suggests. It’s better to bring them out of their way for a bit than to regret ignoring the warning signs.
An eager photographer
Beyond just looking jumpy, someone watching your home might be taking pictures. They’ll be documenting hiding spots and how close the houses are together—less space between houses means more chance a neighbor will spot them, says Stern. If you notice strangers acting fishy with their cameras, defend yourself by taking your own picture of them, Logan recommends. “You might get into an argument, but if there’s a person with bad intentions, taking a picture of him is a good chance of scaring them off,” he says. Memorize these hiding spots burglars check first for valuables.
Light bulb problems
“Lights are burglars’ enemy,” says Logan. “In lights, they can be seen.” A thief who’s planning to break in might unscrew the bulbs around your house so they don’t turn on and reveal the burglar. Check the bulbs if your lights stop working suddenly. If they’re unscrewed but aren’t burnt out, a crook might be scoping your home, says Logan.
A vehicle that keeps driving by
You don’t need to question every unfamiliar car that drives by, but take note if one passes your house over and over. One with an out-of-state license plate or no plate at all could signal someone is there to watch your neighborhood, especially if the passengers park the car and don’t get out. Write down the license plate number (if there is one), get a description of the driver or the number of people in the car, and call the police if you’re suspicious, says Logan. Make sure you know these other tricks for outsmarting criminals.
My 2 Yen/Shutterstock
A stolen identity can be more valuable than some jewelry and cash. “A lot of burglars won’t enter a home,” says Stern. “They’ll start stealing your trash.” From there, they’ll rummage around for documents containing your Social Security number, birthday, and other clues for stealing your identity, along with what type of job you have or when you’ll be going on vacation. Shred any papers before chucking them to make it harder for crooks to put the pieces together, says Stern. Follow that with knowing these 13 personal details your house reveals about you so you can be more aware of what you’re broadcasting to the world.
Brian A Jackson/Shutterstock
An observant criminal will take note when there’s a pile of newspapers building up in front of your house. “When you’re on vacation, that’s a telltale sign you’re not there,” says Stern. When you’re away, ask a neighbor to pick up your papers, pamphlets, and anything else signaling no one is home, he suggests. Check out these other 13 ways to keep your home safe when you’re away.
A moving truck
Criminals rely on the fact that people don’t always know much about their neighbors. While a homeowner is on vacation, they might park a U-Haul in the empty driveway—after all, they would have taken the car on their trip—then load up without being questioned, says Stern. Learn the surprising time of day most burglaries happen.
Research actually suggests that break-ins are most likely to happen during the day. Burglars are most likely to enter homes on weekdays between 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. or from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
Social media posts
Snooping crooks are just one more reason to worry about Internet privacy. “Burglars are using social media now to gather intelligence,” says Stern. “When people post information about their home or a Christmas party, they show different parts of the home or layout.” Especially on image-based platforms like Instagram or Snapchat, robbers could get a sense of where your valuables are to make an efficient theft. Also, avoid posting about your vacation until you’re home. Publicizing the fact that you’ll be away for two weeks—leaving your house unattended—opens the door for burglars to feel confident breaking in.
Of course some religious groups or salesmen ring the doorbells with innocent intentions, but some criminals also pose as them to get a look at the inside of your house. Pay attention to how they present themselves. “You talk to them and they don’t know much about the product, or they’re looking around the house more than trying to sell the vacuum cleaner,” says Logan. Your best bet is to play it safe and not open the door, says Stern. Ideally, you’d have a camera and audio system set up so you can see who’s outside your door and communicate with them without opening up. If you don’t, just shout out the door that you aren’t interested, suggests Stern.
A new cleaning person
If you have a cleaning team or other crew that visits frequently, a new person could be a red flag. Burglars might pay off people with access to your house to find out what’s inside, and some might even convince the team to let them pose as part of the crew, says Stern. When a new face shows up, he recommends calling the company and asking who the person is and why he or she is there. If they don’t know whom you’re talking about, it could be a crook—just one of the tricks a burglar won’t tell you.
Have we learned nothing from the numerous hacks and leaks in recent memory?
Password management company Splash Data released its annual list of the 100 worst passwords of the year based on 5 million leaked passwords on the internet. The top worst passwords continue to be “123456” and “password.”
Some of you have switched things up, as there are several new entries to this year’s list, like “donald” ranked at number 23, presumably inspired by President Donald Trump.
Check out the top 25 most used and least secure passwords of 2018 and whether yours made the cut.
1. 123456 (Rank unchanged from last year)
2. password (Unchanged)
3. 123456789 (Up 3)
4. 12345678 (Down 1)
5. 12345 (Unchanged)
6. 111111 (New)
7. 1234567 (Up 1)
8. sunshine (New)
9. qwerty (Down 5)
10. iloveyou (Unchanged)
11. princess (New)
12. admin (Down 1)
13. welcome (Down 1)
14. 666666 (New)
15. abc123 (Unchanged)
16. football (Down 7)
17. 123123 (Unchanged)
18. monkey (Down 5)
19. 654321 (New)
20. !@#$%^&* (New)
21. charlie (New)
22. aa123456 (New)
23. donald (New)
24. password1 (New)
25. qwerty123 (New)
If your password made the top 100 worst password list this year, you’d probably do well to change it. Splash Data recommends you:
1. Use passphrases of twelve characters or more with mixed types of characters.
2. Use a different password for each of your logins. That way, if a hacker gets access to one of your passwords, they will not be able to use it to access other sites.
3. Protect your assets and personal identity by using a password manager to organize passwords, generate secure random passwords, and automatically log into websites.