If you ask experts, “hornet sting what to do?”, they would recommend you to seek medical help. Such insect bites can be both painful and life-threatening. This type of insect, which belongs to the wasp family, is most active in the spring and summer, which could be dangerous for many, especially those with allergies. Unlike bees, these pests can and will attack you more than once if you provoke them. However, if you play your cards right, you can either prevent the sting or treat it properly. So, find out here in more detail what to do in the process by getting better information about it.
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How to answer the question “What to do about a hornet sting?”
Stinging insects such as bees, wasps, and hornets use their stings to suppress prey such as other insects and spiders and to defend themselves or their colony. While different species show different levels of aggression, the same basic reasons for attacking and stinging are an instinctive desire to feed themselves or their colony members and to protect their colony.
In addition, hornets only attack when they feel threatened. This can happen when you come near their nest, which by most standards has a radius of about 3 meters. Of course, you are probably not in the habit of going to hornet nests for fun, but you may do so accidentally. Typically, this happens in higher areas, such as treetops, attics, under roofs and ceilings in garages.
Possible symptoms of hornet stings
Compared to honey bees or in the case of wasp stings, a hornet sting is dangerous and even more painful because these insects are larger and accordingly have a larger stinger. While bees lose their sting and in some cases die after they attack, hornets do not. In addition, they can sting multiple times and also inject venom that can cause the pain.
Most people describe the sensation of being stung by hornets as a sharp and burning pain, followed by intense itching. The typical symptoms and reactions to stings by bees, wasps, or hornets do not differ significantly, except when a victim is stung multiple times by many individual insects and the victim is highly allergic to the insect venom.
Local reaction to insect sting
Symptoms include pain, swelling, warmth sensation, redness at the sting site, and itching. Symptoms begin almost immediately after a sting and may last for several hours. Large local reactions are often accompanied by increased swelling and may last up to a week. Some people may experience nausea or fatigue with large local reactions.
These symptoms do not cause major medical problems and are usually limited to the injection site. However, secondary bacterial infections may cause some type of skin infection if you scratch the puncture site frequently. This gives bacteria a suitable state to develop. If you do not adequately clean, disinfect and treat the sting site, infections may occur.
What to do in case of allergic reaction due to hornet sting
These reactions occur in people or pets who have formed a type of antibody, known as immunoglobulin E, to the same insect venom from a previous sting. Systemic allergic reactions are critical medical problems, but occur in a very small percentage of stings. Symptoms of systemic allergic reactions include swollen red bumps on the skin, redness of the skin, and difficulty breathing due to swelling of the throat and narrowing of the bronchial passages.
Reactions can vary in severity from mild skin to life-threatening. Anaphylaxis, the most severe immunological reaction, is more common in males and individuals under 20 years of age. In severe cases, life-threatening hypotension can develop, including low blood pressure, circulatory problems, and difficulty breathing. In most cases, anaphylactic reactions occur in individuals who have suffered previous stings with minimal reactions. After an anaphylactic reaction, the risk of a reaction in future stings is over 50%.
How to prevent hornet stings
You should protect yourself from hornet stings by staying calm when you encounter them. When outdoors, it’s best to cover up with protective clothing and use insect repellent. Also, light-colored clothing may attract hornets more than dark or neutral clothing. Symptoms that last more than a day or worsen require medical consultation. These may be signs of an allergic reaction or infection. Anaphylaxis symptoms such as difficulty breathing, fainting, and severe swelling require immediate medical attention. If you notice any of these, you should get help right away.
In addition, you should do your best not to get stung multiple times. If you do get stung, you should try to calmly and quickly move away from the area without moving quickly. Even in such cases, hornets will usually sting you if you are in close proximity to their nest, so they will most likely continue to sting you if you stay put. In case of hornet sting what to do is to leave the area in general, so that the insects have no motives to sting you even more. Indeed, it often happens that a hornet follows the object for several hundreds of meters to sting it and defend its nest. If a hornet happens to land on you, brush it off carefully and calmly walk away. You should not panic.
Here’s how to properly treat a hornet sting
The first thing you should do is wash the sting with soap and water as soon as possible to clean the wound. Then apply ice to suppress the swelling and inflammation, as dermatologists would. Tenderness and swelling can last up to a week. Take an ibuprofen to relieve pain, and if you are dealing with itching, a topical steroid such as hydrocortisone may help. If the area where you were stung continues to be inflamed or becomes very red and warm to the touch, this could be a sign of infection. In this case, call your doctor to get appropriate treatment.