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Wasp Sting Treatment

Wasp Sting Treatment

Medical assistance must be sought immediately in the event of an anaphylactic reaction to a wasp sting. If one doesn't develop an allergic reaction after a wasp sting, the treatment mainly involves removing the stinger and applying an antibiotic ointment on the affected area. This HealthHearty write-up provides information on the treatment options for a wasp sting.
HealthHearty Staff
Last Updated: Apr 9, 2018
A wasp is a predatory insect that belongs to the order Hymenoptera and suborder Apocrita. A wasp has two pair of wings, a stinger (ovipositor), and very little hair. These flying, stinging insects are mostly terrestrial, but a few parasitic wasp species can also live in water. The wasp species include paper wasps, hornets, and yellow jackets. A wasp sting can be really painful, and is scaled at 2 on the Schmidt sting pain index. Wasps mostly sting a person if they feel threatened. They are most likely to sting, if their territory and nest is disturbed.
When disturbed, the wasp inserts and withdraws the stinger with ease. This is the reason why one wasp can sting multiple times. The amount of poison that gets injected in the skin is anywhere between 2 micrograms and 15 micrograms. The lining of the stinger is smooth. It contains the venom sac and a redundant egg laying tube, through which it injects the venom. An interesting feature is that the wasp releases a pheromone while stinging, that sends out a message to other wasps in its vicinity to join in the attack. A sting can become dangerous, if the stinger gets cut off or breaks while penetrating the skin.
How to Treat a Wasp Sting

Treatment depends not only on the severity but also the number of stings. Unlike a snake or other reptile bites, no anti-venom is available for the treatment of wasp stings. Most conditions can be handled with simple first aid. However, people who develop an allergic reaction to the sting require immediate treatment. In case of a mild reaction, you can follow the steps given below:
Remedies
The foremost thing one needs to do, is to move to a safe location in order to avoid further attacks by the wasps.
➻ Thereafter, you need to take the stinger out immediately. You can use a blunt object (butter knife, credit card) to remove the stringer. Avoid the use of tweezers, as venom could get released, if you end up squeezing the venom sac. So, be careful while pulling it out to ensure that it doesn't break and release more venom.
➻ Wrap an ice pack in a washcloth, and apply it on the affected area. This will help reduce the swelling.
➻ Wash the affected area with an antiseptic soap.
➻ After drying the area with a clean cloth, apply an antibiotic ointment on it.
➻ If you are experiencing severe pain, you can take an OTC analgesic such as ibuprofen.
➻ In case of severe itching, you can take an antihistamine. However, it's advisable to seek medical help, in case of an allergic reaction.
Mild to moderate allergic reactions that cause rashes and mild breathing problems could be treated by the administration of antihistamines, steroids, and/or epinephrine injections, and a tetanus booster immunization (if needed).
Medical assistance must be sought if one develops anaphylaxis, which is a life-threatening allergic reaction that causes the following symptoms:
➻ Swelling of the face, lips, and throat
➻ Difficulty breathing
➻ Tightness in the chest
➻ Difficulty swallowing
➻ Palpitations
➻ Wheezing
➻ Dizziness
➻ Confusion
➻ Rapid heartbeat
➻ Hives
➻ Nausea or vomiting
➻ Diarrhea
➻ Sudden drop in the blood pressure
➻ Abdominal pain
Severe allergic reaction mostly occurs when the sting venom enters the bloodstream. Hospitalization is required in such cases. The treatment includes the administration of antihistamines, steroids, and epinephrine. Intravenous administration of fluids might also be required. To aid breathing, a breathing tube would be placed into the trachea.
On a concluding note, medical assistance must be immediately sought, if a person develops anaphylaxis after a wasp sting. Such individuals should carry an emergency kit. In mild cases, where an allergic reaction doesn't develop, the aforementioned measures can be followed. However, consult a doctor, if symptoms such as pain, swelling, or redness persist.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.