Most medical professionals advise the same general course of action regarding first aid for wasp stings. First, you need to clean the area properly in order to remove any venom and to avoid a skin infection. Then you can apply an ice pack or cold compress to treat the pain and swelling. Creams and antihistamines can often help with swelling as well, and over-the-counter pain medications can further reduce discomfort. Stings are easy to treat, but it is important to watch for dangerous allergic reactions, such as dizziness or trouble breathing, triggered by the wasp's venom.
Though removing the stinger is a crucial step after being stung by a bee, there are no stingers to remove after a wasp sting, since they don't leave them behind. When administering first aid for wasp stings, you should wash the area with soap and water, and then apply an ice pack to reduce swelling. The ice, wrapped in a towel or cloth, can be left on for a few minutes at a time and then removed for a few minutes, repeating the process for a couple of hours if necessary. If the pain and swelling have not subsided after approximately three days, it could be a sign of infection from not cleaning the area thoroughly.
Some examples of medications commonly recommended as first aid for wasp stings include an oral or topical antihistamine, or a topical cream, such as calamine lotion or hydrocortisone cream, for any itching or mild discomfort. Pain can also usually be alleviated by taking acetaminophen or ibuprofen. You should normally check with a doctor for advice about first aid for wasp stings if you are treating a child and want to administer any medications. An additional caution when providing first aid for wasp stings is that it is critical to watch for any swelling around the mouth, which could result in obstructed breathing.
For the majority of people, wasp stings generally cause only a temporary inconvenience and some discomfort. In most areas, you can call a medical office or a poison control center for advice. Those who are severely allergic to wasp venom, however, are likely to experience a serious reaction known as anaphylaxis if they are stung. When giving first aid for wasp stings, you should be aware of the potential symptoms, such as a skin rash, difficulty breathing, nausea, or dizziness, all of which usually require an immediate visit to an emergency room. In the meantime, it may be necessary to administer a shot of epinephrine to keep the person from going into shock.