Most of us have been in a situation before where you are cruising along “in the zone” of driving and you take notice of the unusually nice weather that is outside the cab. Maybe it is even so nice you decide to open the window and enjoy some fresh air. As the cool air feeds into the cab on your way down the highway and keeps you alert and trucking along, your sense of serenity is suddenly disrupted by the sound of tiny things hitting your truck and splatter marks galore appearing across your windshield! You sit up abruptly and realize you just drove through a swarm of something and you reach over and hit the switches to roll your windows back up. As you lean back in your seat, you feel a sharp pain in your back that brings new urgency to the situation; it was a swarm of bees, one made it in the cab and now it just stung you in the back!
As horrible as this sounds, it has happened to me on two occasions. One time out of the blue and another time near an already known nest of hives along the freeway. So, what exactly is there to do when you have a stinger lodged somewhere in your body and you are driving seventy-five feet or so of truck and trailer? The time I got stung in the back, I did the only thing I could do…keep on truckin’. As horrible as it sounds, I knew that if I reached back and just pulled the stinger out, it would cause more harm than good (I'll get back to that in a second). I was ten minutes away from the yard and lucky for me I am not allergic to bee stings, so I figured I would just sit up away from the seatback and head it on in to where I parked my beast of a truck. Once there, I pulled my truck into its parking area, jumped out, ripped my shirt off and carefully flicked out the stinger with a credit card. A few of the guys already parked and finishing their paperwork must have thought I was nuts, but I was not much worried about their opinions at that point.
Although one time it happened that I was stung in the back, the other was in the arm, where I was able to use some of the following tips to help treat. The best thing to do when stung and driving is to first get off the roadway to park in a safe location. If you know of any bee sting allergy that may cause anaphylaxis, call 911 as soon as you get parked and await professional medical help. If you know of this allergy, it may be a good idea to carry a prescribed epinephrine injection pen for such occasions. If there are no allergies, be sure not to pull out the stinger with your fingers. When a bee stings you, its stinger comes out and on the end of it is a venom gland. Trying to remove the stinger by pulling it out will squeeze this gland and release the venom into the body. The best recommended method is to flick it off from the side with a credit card, identification card, etc. Once the stinger is out, put something cold on it to relieve some of the discomfort and possible swelling. Ibuprofen or acetaminophen can be taken for pain and antihistamine, such as Benadryl, can be taken to relieve itchiness. Some natural remedies can be had as well, such as applying a paste of baking soda and water. Another weird, yet true remedy is unflavored meat tenderizer, which contains a compound that breaks down the reactive elements of the bee venom. It is no laughing matter when you are at the controls of a truck and get stung, but remember to stay calm and take care of it as soon as you safely can do so.