First aid for yellow jacket stings involves moving to a safe place away from the insects, using an ice pack to reduce swelling and trying a nonprescription pain reliever, states Mayo Clinic. Topical creams and oral antihistamines can also reduce pain and itching. Elevating the extremity also reduces swelling.
An ice pack at the site of the sting numbs the area and reduces the swelling, according to MedicineNet. Wrap the ice pack in a thin cloth to protect the skin, and apply it to the site of the sting for 10 to 15 minutes at a time. Repeat several times throughout the day. Keep the area elevated above the level of the heart to further reduce the swelling.
Nonprescription pain relievers, such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen, can be used to relive pain, while topical cortisone creams can reduce the itching associated with yellow jacket stings, notes Mayo Clinic. Creams and lotions containing colloidal oatmeal or calamine can also soothe the skin.
Watch for signs of allergic reaction, advises MedicineNet. Swelling of the face, lips or throat, widespread hives or a rash, wheezing and difficulty breathing are signs of a systemic allergic reaction. If any of these symptoms are present, call 911 immediately and determine if the person has an allergy kit containing self-administered epinepherine.