Q:

How should you treat a wasp sting?

A:

Quick Answer

Wasp stings generally require only treatment at home, including taking the stinger out (if present), washing the site of the sting, and applying ice to reduce swelling. Pain medications and antihistamines may also be needed to reduce discomfort. Severe allergic reactions require immediate medical attention, notes eMedicineHealth.

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Full Answer

In some cases, the stinger remains after the wasp has departed, but bees are more likely than wasps to leave a stinger behind. Scraping a credit card along the stinger pulls it out with a minimum of discomfort. Getting the stinger out as soon as possible reduces the amount of venom inside the victim, according to eMedicineHealth.

Many wasp stings cause pain and swelling. Applying ice wrapped in a cloth for about 20 minutes every hour as necessary reduces the swelling, states eMedicineHealth. Antihistamines, such as diphenhydramine, ease itching, and ibuprofen and acetaminophen reduce pain from the sting. Washing the site thoroughly with warm water and soap before drying and applying an antibiotic ointment removes as much venom as possible while also reducing the possibility for infection. People who have not had a tetanus shot within the last 10 years will need a booster shot within the next few days after the sting.

Unless there is a severe allergic reaction to the sting, no further steps need to be taken. If, however, the sting produces a severe reaction, such as considerable swelling and/or difficulty breathing, immediate medical attention should be sought, as stated by eMedicineHealth.

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