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How to avoid, treat bee and wasp stings

Monday - 8/19/2013, 7:29am  ET

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It's the time of year when bees and wasps are most active. (WTOP File)

WASHINGTON - You may want to be on the lookout for bees and wasps this time of year because you're most likely to get stung by them in the late summer or early fall.

It's now that the little buggers are most active, says The Wall Street Journal. For most people, getting stung is no big deal, but a sting can trigger a dangerous reaction for some people.

Experts say normal pain and swelling is to be expected, but if the sting site continues to swell, get to a doctor. Other serious reactions include hives, vomiting, a lightheaded feeling, seizures and difficulty breathing. Even if those symptoms pass, see a doctor -- a future allergic reaction could be worse.

To reduce your risk of getting stung, forget spritzing on perfume or cologne. They make you smell good to other humans, but such scents can make you smell like danger to a bee or wasp - because they can mimic insect hormones.

Experts say you don't need to be worried if you're wearing a shirt with a flowery pattern -- insects probably don't see the patterns the same way you do.

If you do get stung, you can make it feel better by mixing meat tenderizer and water until it's like a paste, then apply it to the sting. An enzyme in the seasoning can counteract the toxic proteins in the venom that causes your body to react. And if you can see the stinger, use tweezers or a credit card to scrape it away.

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