Can bee stings lead to future allergic reactions?

Q: Our son was stung on his finger by a bee and his whole hand became swollen. Will his next sting be worse or cause an allergic reaction?

A: Local reactions to bee stings — redness, swelling, pain and itching — are very common in children.

The good news is that previously stung kids aren’t likely to have worse reactions the next time.

Though the severity of a reaction can depend a bit on what kind of bee or wasp sting occurred, severe, life-threatening reactions are still uncommon in most children.

If a child suffers multiple stings, the reaction can be more extensive, but such a situation is still unlikely to cause anaphylaxis, an overwhelming, body-wide reaction that is a medical emergency.