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Ask Doctor Cory.

Dear Dr. Cory:

Why do bees sting?

Christopher

Rutherford, New Jersey

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Dear Christopher:

Bees live together in a beehive. They all have jobs to do, which includes staying safe. A sting from a bee (a honeybee, bumblebee, sweat bee, etc.) protects the bee and the hive itself.

To guard against bee stings: Don't wear perfumes or colognes, and don't wear bright colors and bold or flowered clothing. Bees love flowers, so they are also attracted to sweet smells and bright colors.

* Stay away from orchards, blooming trees, shrubs, and flower beds.

* Cover foods and drinks. Before drinking, check the inside of drink cans to avoid a bee sting in the mouth or throat.

* Run if you accidentally disturb a hive, making the bees swarm. Experts say bees are relatively slow and can be outrun. When a honeybee stings, it gives off a chemical that will attract other bees.

* If you or your family are allergic to bee stings, check with your doctor about a prescription bee-sting kit that contains adrenalin, such as the EpiPen.

* Always wear shoes when you are outside!

Dear Dr. Cory:

When you get stung by a bee. why does it swell?

Jesse, age 9

St. Louis, Missouri

When I get stung by a bee, why does it swell?

Brittany

Buffalo, New York

Dear Jesse and Brittany:

A bee sting triggers the release of histamine (HIS-tuh-meen). This chemical makes liquid collect in skin cells around the sting and leads to pain, redness, swelling, and itching. Some people are very allergic to bee stings. A severe reaction may include hives over most of the body, dizziness, confusion, nausea, chills, scratchy or dry throat, swelling of the throat (feeling like your throat is closing), and difficulty breathing or swallowing. People with these problems or anyone stung in the nose, mouth, or throat should call 911 to seek emergency medical help right away. People who are allergic to bees should carry a beesting kit--and use it immediately if they are stung.

Dear Dr. Cory:

I have a pain in my neck when I do curl-ups in gym class. Why do I have this pain?

Jennie

Colorado Springs, Colorado

Dear Jennie:

When you do curl-ups (also called "crunches"), concentrate on using your abdominal muscles. As you breathe out, tighten your stomach to lift your head, neck, and upper shoulders off the ground. Let your abdominal muscles pull you up. Use your arms to lightly support your neck but do not pull on your head or neck. Bend your knees slightly with your feet flat on the floor to keep your hips and lower back in a safe position.

As your abdominal muscles get stronger these exercises will get easier, but don't try to rush ahead of your body. Remember: Concentrate on working your abdominal muscles and keep breathing!

Dear Dr. Cory:

When we run for gym class, why is it that we have cramps on our side? flow do we get these cramps, and why do they hurt so much?

Bobbi

Anchorage, Alaska

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Dear Bobbi:

Scientists think that side cramps (or side "stitches") happen when we stretch the ligaments that go from the diaphragm (DY-uh-fram) to the internal organs. The jarring and stretching from running in gym class probably leads to painful spasms in the diaphragm.

When you get a side ache, stop and stretch. If the ache is on the right side, lift your right arm up and over your right ear and stretch or lean to your left side. Then take your left hand and rub the sore area to help release the cramp or spasm. (Do the opposite for a cramp felt on left side.) Sometimes bending forward to stretch the diaphragm is also helpful.

To help prevent side aches:

* eat 30 to 60 minutes before being active;

* drink plenty of water before, during, and after being active;

* warm up your muscles with easy walking;

* when active, take deep, even breaths; shallow breathing seems to increase cramping.

Buzz words:

Histamine: A chemical released in the body during an allergic reaction causing allergic signs in the skin, nose, eyes, throat, lungs, and digestive system.

Hives (not the bee's home): Raised red bumps on the skin. They often itch but can also burn or sting.

BEE-WARE:

If you get stung:

* Remove the stinger as fast as possible. The longer the stinger is in, the more venom will be injected;

* Wash the area with soap and water;

* Apply an ice or cold pack for fifteen minutes every few hours;

* Make sure you are up to date on your tetanus shots.

BEE IN THE KNOW:

Honeybees leave a stinger behind when they sting. Yellow jackets, wasps, and hornets do not leave a stinger but they con still cause severe allergic reactions.

CRUNCH WORD: Abdominal muscles: A group of six muscles between the ribs and hipbones in the front of the body.

WORDS TO BREATHE BY: Diaphragm: The large breathing muscle just below the ribs.
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Author:SerVaas, Cory
Publication:Jack & Jill
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:May 1, 2008
Words:826
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