How Do I Give First Aid for Wasp Stings?

K. Testa

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.

An ice pack, which can reduce swelling from a wasp sting.
An ice pack, which can reduce swelling from a wasp sting.

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.

Emergency care is necessary if someone allergic to bees or wasps is stung by one of the insects.
Emergency care is necessary if someone allergic to bees or wasps is stung by one of the insects.

Get started

Want to automatically save money while you shop online?

Join 3 million Wikibuy users who have found 
$70 million in savings over the last year.

Wikibuy compensates us when you install Wikibuy using the links we provided.

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.

A bottle of calamine lotion, which can help relieve pain from wasp stings.
A bottle of calamine lotion, which can help relieve pain from wasp stings.

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.

A topical antihistamine, which can help with a wasp sting.
A topical antihistamine, which can help with a wasp sting.
A yellow jacket, a type of wasp.
A yellow jacket, a type of wasp.

Discussion Comments

Spotiche5

For a natural, old-fashioned treatment for a wasp sting, mix a spoonful of baking soda with enough water to turn it into a paste. After cleaning the area of the sting, apply the baking soda paste.

The mixture will help to soothe the pain and promote healing.

Raynbow

If you don't have an ice pack available, try placing a small bag of frozen peas wrapped in a thin towel over the area of the wasp sting to reduce swelling and soreness. Frozen peas offer flexible coldness without being as hard as ice cubes. They are comfortable even when you place them on an area that is painful, such as a bee sting.

Heavanet

When treating a wasp sting, it is also a good idea to put a little bit of antibiotic ointment on the affected area after cleaning it. This will provide an added boost against an infection developing.

Post your comments
Login:
Forgot password?
Register: