Wasp Stings

Wasp Stings

Dealing with Wasp Stings

Wasp stings should be treated with antihistamine creams. Wasp stings around the throat can lead to respiratory obstruction which may cause faintness or vomiting. In these cases you should seek medical assistance.

Repeated stings can cause anaphylactic shock. Symptoms include respiratory distress, swelling of the face and vomiting with abdominal pain. Medical assistance should be sought immediately where anaphylactic shock is suspected.

How to avoid getting stung by a wasp

  • If surrounded by a swarm of bees or wasps, move out of the way SLOWLY. Do not try to wave the insects away. Violent movements will only excite them and make them more aggressive and likely to attack.

  • Insect repellents are effective.

  • Never aim a blow at a wasps or bees nest or attempt to throw them because the insects will immediately attack.

  • Stay away from things that attract insects, such as flowers, trees, bushes and piles of wood.

  • Be extra careful if you are eating or drinking (especially sweet things) outside.

  • Smells and bright colours attract insects. Avoid scented creams and strong perfumes if you are going to spend time outside.

  • Long sleeves, long trousers, socks, shoes and gloves help protect you from stings.

  • Close the windows in the house and the car to keep the insects out or cover them with special mesh so you can have them open and insects cannot fly in.

  • Look out for insects nests in your home or garden and have them removed immediately.

  • Protective gear such as mesh covers for the face can be very effective against insects if walking, hiking or cycling. Special hats/caps can be made or purchased with the mesh fitted so it can easily be pulled down over the face or lifted up when desired.

If you do get stung by a Wasp

  • all bee stings include an alarm pheromone which incites their mates to attack, so step one is to get away from a nest/hive with all speed.

  • scrape/pull out stings as soon as possible. A honey bee sting has a pump attached that continues to introduce venom for 1 minute after stinging. A wasp does not leave its stinger in your skin.

  • apply an ice pack (e.g. anything frozen wrapped in a kitchen towel) to minimize swelling and pain. But not too long at any one time unless you want frostbite. Use an off/on, off/on… action.

  • lift limb to heart level to reduce swelling.

  • take an antihistamine tablet to reduce swelling and itching.

  • take a pain killer.

  • the swelling and redness may be worse the next day; this is a normal allergic reaction. If however the swelling is still painful and a fever is present there may be secondary infection and a hospital visit is advisable.

  • antibiotics do not help.

Call a doctor if……………………

  • a person has been stung by many insects at the same time

  • or swelling that gets worse instead of better

  • if the site is red, tender and swollen

  • headache

  • dizziness

  • nausea (feeling sick)

  • pains in the chest

  • choking or wheezing

  • difficulty breathing.