Wasp stings are not uncommon, predominantly in the warmer months when people are outside longer. They can be uncomfortable, but most people recover quickly and without complications. However, even without stings, wasp venom can cause significant pain and irritation. It is also possible to have a severe reaction if you are allergic to the venom. In any case, prompt treatment is of utmost importance. What to do in case of a wasp sting, what are the symptoms and what measures to take, you will learn in this article.
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Symptoms that occur with a wasp sting
Most people without wasp sting allergies experience only mild symptoms during and after a wasp sting. Initial sensations may include sharp pain or burning at the sting site. Redness, swelling and itching may also occur.
Normal local reactions: A raised sore around the puncture site is likely. You may see a small white spot in the center of where the stinger pierced your skin. Usually, the pain and swelling will subside within a few hours after the sting.
What to do if you are allergic to a wasp sting
Major local reactions: “Severe local reactions” is a term used to describe the more pronounced symptoms associated with a wasp or bee sting. People who have severe local reactions may be allergic to a wasp sting without experiencing life-threatening symptoms such as anaphylactic shock.
Severe local reactions to a wasp sting include severe redness and swelling that increases for two or three days after the sting. Nausea and vomiting may also occur. In most cases, major local reactions resolve on their own within about a week. Tell your doctor if you have a severe local reaction. He or she may instruct you to take an over-the-counter antihistamine to relieve the discomfort.
Anaphylaxis: The most severe allergic reactions to a wasp sting are called anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis occurs when your body goes into shock in response to wasp venom. Symptoms of a severe allergic reaction to a wasp sting include:
- Severe swelling of the face, lips, or throat
- Hives or itching on areas of the body not affected by the sting
- Difficulty breathing, such as wheezing or shortness of breath
- sudden drop in blood pressure
- loss of consciousness
- nausea or vomiting
- Stomach cramps
- Weak or rapid pulse
You do not have to experience all of these symptoms after a wasp sting, but it is likely that you will experience at least some of them after another sting. It is important that you seek emergency medical attention immediately to treat anaphylaxis.
What you can do if you are allergic to mosquito bites, read here !
Treatment of the bite site at home – tips
You can treat mild and moderate reactions to wasp stings at home. In this case, you should:
- Wash the sting site with soap and water to remove as much venom as possible.
- Put a cold compress on the sting site to relieve swelling and pain.
- Keep the wound clean and dry to prevent infection.
- Cover it with a bandage if desired.
- Use hydrocortisone cream or calamine lotion when the itching or skin irritation becomes bothersome. Baking soda and colloidal oatmeal soothe the skin and can be used while bathing or through medicated skin creams.
- Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen, can ease the pain associated with a sting.
- Antihistamine medications, including diphenhydramine and chlorpheniramine, can also relieve itching. Take all medications as directed to avoid possible side effects such as stomach irritation or drowsiness.
You should also consider getting a tetanus shot within a few days of the sting if you have not had an injection in the past 10 years.
Treating the affected skin area with vinegar: Vinegar is another possible home remedy you can use on stings. The theory is that the acidity of vinegar can help neutralize the alkalinity of the sting. To use vinegar on wasp stings, soak a cotton ball with apple cider vinegar or white vinegar and place it on the affected skin area. Apply gentle pressure to relieve pain and inflammation. You can leave the cotton ball on the skin for a few minutes.
How to protect children from stings
Although insect bites and stings are often perceived as a childhood ritual, this does not make them any less dangerous or unpleasant. Young children are especially at risk, as they may not be able to fully explain that they have been stung by a wasp.
If your child is playing outside, be on the lookout for signs of a wasp sting and immediately investigate the source of tears and discomfort.
You can teach your child how to prevent a wasp sting at an early age. For example, you can show him what wasps and their nests look like and how to avoid them. Other safety precautions include not going outside barefoot and not drinking sugary drinks, as these can attract the insects.
You can learn how to remove a wasp nest with home remedies here !
What measures to take in case of pregnancy
A wasp sting can occur at any stage of life, including during pregnancy. Unless you are known to be allergic to the venom or have had severe local reactions in the past, stings are not a cause for concern. You can follow the same treatment measures as someone who is not pregnant, but avoid antihistamines with decongestant ingredients.