Where is the most painful place for a bee sting

One researcher decided to investigate how different sting locations around the body compared on a rating scale for pain.

Michael Smith, Ph.D., of Cornell University in Ithaca, NY, selected 25 locations on the body and conducted an experiment to rate the painfulness of a sting at each location caused by a honey bee.

All stings were rated on a scale from 1-10, from low to high pain severity.

Randomly assigning which body part he would be stung on next and using the same morning slot, Dr. Smith left at least 5 minutes between each sting for the pain to subside. He subjected himself to three rounds of stinging for each location, to give some consistency to the results.

The eye-watering results, in order of worst pain first, were:
Nostril (9.0)
Upper lip (8.7)
Penis shaft (7.3)
Scrotum (7.0)
Palm (7.0)
Cheek (7.0)
Armpit (7.0)
Nipple (6.7)
Abdomen (6.7)
Middle finger tip (6.7)

Obviously, two of the most painful places do not apply for women, and this was a one-man experiment, albeit with a scientific design published in a peer-reviewed journal.

Preventing bee stings
A number of practical steps can be taken to reduce the risk of being stung by a bee.
Wear light-colored, smooth clothing that is not too loose
Keep clothing clean and maintain personal hygiene - sweat may anger bees
Wear shoes
Remove nests near the home - use a professional service
Keep areas clean, especially involving food - cover food containers and trash cans
Keep an eye out for bees - use widely brimmed cups when drinking sweet drinks to make seeing a bee easier
Take care with any activities such as garden trimming that could provoke a nest

Wear brightly colored and flower-print clothing, or fragrances and cosmetics that have floral scents; bananas and banana-scented toiletries should also be avoided
Wear loose clothing that can trap bees and insects
Wear open-toed shoes

When does a bee sting need medical care?
If an insect sting has led to swelling or blistering, or if signs of infection develop, such as pus, see a doctor. A doctor may offer medication to help with local swelling, itching, or pain including painkillers, topical corticosteroids, and antihistamines.

If the local reaction is larger and more severe, such as when the local swelling (edema) is severe, oral corticosteroids may be prescribed for a course of 3-5 days.

Written by Markus MacGill

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