Wasp Sting Treatment
Being stung by a wasp is always, at the very least, unpleasant, although usually relatively harmless and easily treatable. However, for an unfortunate few it can be really serious and sometimes even fatal. These extreme cases occur when the person who is stung suffers an anaphylactic shock. There are symptoms to look out for which we will discuss later but immediate medical assistance is required in these cases.
It would be nice if we could sail through life without ever being stung by a wasp but unfortunately the chances are that we are likely to have an encounter with a wasp at some point that results in a sting.
Although there are lots of wasp species around the world, with some being more unpleasant than others, the ones we are most likely to come across in the UK are the ones known as the “yellow jacket” and the “paper wasp”.
Wasp Fact: Remarkably, if you have ever been stung by a wasp, it will most definitely have been by a female as the male wasps simply don’t carry a stinger.
If you do get stung by a wasp, there are some straightforward guidelines you should follow to treat it and minimise the discomfort. If you know exactly where you were stung, there is a good chance that you will be able to see the stinger protruding slightly (provided you haven’t swiped at the area when you felt the sting), so if possible try and pluck this stinger out with a pair of tweezers or carefully between fingernails. The more effectively you can remove the stinger the better. Don’t squeeze the area that is stinging, this will only encourage the venom to spread further under the skin.
If you have managed to remove the stinger successfully, then you can bathe the relevant area in some antiseptic wash and carefully dab dry. If you have ice available, place this onto the area as best as possible and this will encourage any swelling to go down. If you can elevate the area that has been stung, it is recommended to do so.
Don’t scratch or rub the skin close to the sting no matter how much you are tempted. Rubbing in some antihistamine cream (or taking an antihistamine pill orally) will treat the irritation and pain far more effectively. If it doesn’t improve after 24 hours or so and the inflammation actually appears to have spread, you should make an appointment with a doctor as soon as possible in case of infection.
Allergic Reaction to Wasp Stings
Most of us will probably not suffer an allergic reaction to wasp stings, instead suffering some mild discomfort and irritation but there are those that can have bad reactions to the sting of a wasp and anaphylactic shock can set in and this can be life threatening in some cases.
Seeking immediate medical help is vital. Symptoms can vary from case to case but could result in breathlessness or rashes of varying degrees. Steroids or antihistamines are often used to treat these reactions very successfully.
More serious cases experiencing anaphylactic shock could suffer coughing, wheezing and a more serious shortness of breath. Swelling of the lips and tongue has also been reported and some people may pass out while suffering from these symptoms.It ‘s possible in the most extreme cases that the venom from the wasp sting enters the blood stream and this is why effective and serious treatment is required quickly. From antihistamines to steroids and epinephrine or even a life saving procedure known as a tracheotomy to assist breathing may be required. If your symptoms after a wasp sting resemble any of the above, it is essential to seek emergency medical care.