Bee and wasp stings are a common summer nuisance that can turn deadly if the victim develops a severe allergic reaction (anaphalaxis). Public Health experts estimate that up to 3% of adults will have a severe systematic reaction to a wasp or bee sting. Park & Rec workers, summer camp counselors and campers, police and fire, and public works employees, athletic coaches and athletes -- anyone who works or recreates outdoors -- is at risk of a sting.
Ways of avoiding yellowjacket and bee stings include --
- Yellowjackets wasps become aggressive when scavaging for food. Keep garbage cans covered with tight-fitting lids and from picnic and camping activity areas.
- Keep food covered if not being eaten.
- Serve sweet and other drinks in covered cups with straws.
- Check food and beverages for yellowjackets before eating or drinking. Clear away food items after a meal immediately.
- Eliminate water sources such as birdbaths and dripping faucets, which attract bees and wasps.
- Wear foot protection. Require campers and students to wear shoes.
- Remain calm when a wasp lands on you. Don’t swat the insect. Yellowjackets rarely sting if they are left alone.
- Avoid wearing hairsprays, perfumes, colognes, suntan lotion or brightly colored clothes outdoors.
- Exercise care while working around leaf litter at margins of lawns. Wasp nests are sometimes built under the leaves.
- Mow carefully. Look ahead of the mower in case there is a nest in the lawn.
Bee or wasp sting symptoms that warrant medical attention include:
CIRMA's Summer Camp Counselor Safety Orientation Training Kit contains information on Insect stings and Epipens. Order a free kit today from CIRMA's Learning Media Library.
- Coughing or wheezing.
- Problems breathing or swallowing, or having tightness in your throat.
- Changes to your skin, such as breaking out into hives.
- Feeling lightheaded or dizzy, or fainting.
- Vomiting or diarrhea.
Contact your CIRMA Risk Management Consultant to learn more about our programs.