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First Aid: To Bee, Or Not To Bee

Alas, there's no such thing as bee repellent. But there are a few simple ways to prevent nasty stings: Skip the perfume and avoid bright, patterned clothing--you don't want bees mistaking you for a flower. Keep an eye out for nests. (Bees sting only when they're threatened, or when they come into inadvertent contact with humans.) And don't carry around sugary drinks, which are sure to interest any bees buzzing nearby. (Wasps like hamburger.) If a bee still gets in your bonnet, don't run away. Bees can follow moving objects. "Use your hands and arms to protect your face and neck," advises Murad Alam, a dermatologist at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago. If you get stung, remove the stinger as quickly as possible, so it won't continue to inject venom. Ice helps prevents swelling, while hydrocortisone cream can decrease inflammation. For immediate relief, calamine lotion and baking soda can help. So can a hug.

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