Updated: 13th February 2021
Wasp stings (or yellow jacket stings) are a cause of concern for many, especially during the Summer months.
Here is some guidance on what to do to treat a wasp sting, and also preventing stings in the future - most of these tips are very simple measures you can take.
At the end of this post, I also include a short review of some of the (deet-free) products available out there to help repel wasps and other stinging and biting insects, and a link to a further page for repelling wasps in specific situations.
wasp stings is very similar to treating bee stings. However, there is
no sting to remove, as is the case should a sting be caused by a honey
Also, the composition of the venom is slightly
different between wasps, bees and hornets, and so reactions to a
stinging incident can be different, even though wasp sting first aid is
similar to that for bee stings.
Bee stings are a little acidic, whereas wasp stings have a pretty much neutral in pH.
1. Wash the area with cool water.
2. Apply an ice cube or ice pack to reduce swelling or cold flannel.
3. If the sting is very painful or very itchy, apply a soothing lotion, such as calamine lotion, or a suitable cream or ointment containing an antihistamine or local anaesthetic. Ensure you read the label and only apply products that are appropriate for you.
You could also try a venom extractor kit - this is something you would have to have at home already, in case of stings.
4. An analgesic, such as paracetamol or aspirin, may also be taken if appropriate. Always read the label and remember there are restrictions for the taking of medicines in children, dependent upon age. Do not exceed the recommended dose.
5. If you are concerned, or if symptoms persist (for example, with major swelling), consult a health care professional.
6. If the sting has occurred in a sensitive area, such as close to the eye, nostril, ear, or in the mouth, consult your doctor immediately, or go to hospital.
7. If you begin to have difficulty breathing or swallowing, or find yourself wheezing or feeling dizzy call an ambulance or go to the hospital immediately. As with bees, a wasp sting reaction can be very serious. Although anaphylactic shock is rare, it is important to recognise that it can nevertheless occur. Likewise, should you experience any other symptoms soon after a sting, such as nausea and vomiting, stomach ache, diarrhoea, seek assistance immediately.
8. Note: If you find some-one experiencing anaphylactic shock
following a wasp or other insect sting or bite (including mosquitoes or
tick bites), check to see whether they are carrying an Epi-pen - they
may need your assistance to administer the Epi-pen injection immediately, and then seek medical attention.
If you are aware that you have an allergy to bee and/or wasp stings, ensure you carry an epi-pen with you at all times, and you could consider carrying a charm or pendant such as the one featured on the left, to alert people that you have an allergy.
A wasp sting is sometimes presumed to be a wasp bite. Wasps do bite, however, they do so when:
Stings are the means of defence, and wasps will sting (rather than bite) when they perceive a threat.
You may be tempted to splat or squash a wasp, but it is far better not to kill wasps because it you may only attract more
of them. But why?
On death, wasps release pheromones that act as a warning of threat to other wasps, hence you will risk provoking further attack.
See the information below and the link to my new page about preventing wasp stings.
Here are my tips: