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How to Treat a Wasp Sting

Maya Pillai
A wasp sting can be treated easily, provided you have a stinger-removal first-aid kit handy, or you have some simple home remedies in mind. Here, we give you a brief idea about how to treat a wasp sting.
Wasps are social insects and they tend to attack a victim in groups. This is because of pheromone present in the wasp's venom, which alerts and welcomes the other wasps in that area. The volume of venom injected by a wasp sting is less than that of a bee but more powerful.
Not many of us are aware that a wasp can insert and withdraw its sting with ease. That is the reason why a single wasp can deliver multiple stings. The venom of a wasp sting can cause allergies and needs to be treated immediately. Here are a few tips to treat a wasp sting.

Treating a Wasp Sting

The sting of a wasp is painful and can be deadly if left untreated. Remember, wasps attack in groups. Hence, if you happen to live in an area inhabited by wasps, it would be a wise idea to keep a first-aid box handy.
However, if you come across a wasp nest in your garden or in the attic of your home, it is best to have it removed. Following are some simple ways which will help you to get rid of the discomfort caused by a wasp sting.

Remove the Stinge

The moment you are sure that you have been stung by a wasp, look for the stinger(s). A stinger has to be removed as soon as possible. The sting contains venom that causes swelling.
There are stinger removal kits with removal pumps available in pharmacies. Using the pump, you can remove the stinger easily. In case you do not have the stinger-removal first-aid kit, you could use a blunt butter knife to scrape against your skin in the direction opposite to the stinger's entry. The stinger is likely to pop out.
Avoid using tweezers or pinching the stinger out as this will squeeze the stinger and more venom will be released inside the body. This might even break the stringer which may lead to infection.

Reduce the Effect of the Venom

Once the stinger is removed, you need to reduce the effect of the venom which has been released by the stinger. Here are some simple home remedies.
► The principle constituent of venom is protein. Meat tenderizer consists of papin which is known to break down protein. A paste of water and meat tenderizer may help in the breakdown of protein in the venom which will further reduce the effect of the venom. Secure this paste with bandage, tape and cotton.
► Wasp venom is alkaline in nature. So applying lemon or apple cider vinegar over the wound will neutralize the venom because of its acid content.
► Using a copper coin is one of the oldest and quite effective way of nullifying the effect of poison or venom. Rub or just tape the copper coin over the wound. Your skin will undergo a chemical reaction which will neutralize the effect of the venom.
► If you don't have any of the above at the time you are stung by the wasp then just make a paste of water and soil or mud and apply it on the wound. Mud is known to withdraw the venom from the wound and you will see the swelling reducing considerably.

Treat Inflammation, Swelling and Pain

As soon as the effect of the venom is reduced, symptoms associated with it such as pain, swelling, inflammation, irritation, etc., will reduce on its own. However, following are the remedies which will help you to overcome the discomfort caused by a wasp sting.
► Use an ice pack to reduce the pain and inflammation. Place the ice pack on the affected area for about 30 minutes. Do not put the ice directly on the skin as it may result in ice burn. The spot of the sting should be wiped dry once every 15 minutes.
► Aloe vera is known for its various skin healing properties. Apply aloe vera gel directly on the sting area, it will provide a cooling effect and will reduce the irritation and inflammation.

Apply toothpaste on the stung area. This will reduce the inflammation and will also reduce the effect of the venom.
► Apply an antihistamine cream or gel (such as diphenhydramine hydrochloride) on the swelling. However, if you are not relieved of the pain even after a few hours, try taking oral analgesics such as ibuprofen or any mild painkiller.
► As a home remedy, try using moist baking soda or a clay pack on the swollen area. These remedies are likely to provide some amount of relief. However, if the stung area is swollen or if the skin is red in color even after 24 hours, it is advisable to see a doctor.
If you are stung by a swarm of wasps, it is advisable that you get medical help immediately. If you suffer from any adverse signs such as anaphylactic shock, wheezing or swollen lips, trouble breathing, dizziness, nausea, swelling in mouth and throat, etc., following a wasp sting, consult a medical practitioner without delay.
If you have any prior history of allergy due to wasp sting, the doctor might give you a shot of epinephrine. Treat a wasp sting immediately before it leads to any other complication.
Disclaimer: This is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.