Wasp stings are painful and although most cause only small medical problems, some can be fatal, and hence must be dealt with utmost care and attention. Wasps are classified under the Hymenoptera group which are double-winged insects having a tubular structure at their bottom, specially meant for stinging or piercing.
They live in colonies, so if you are stung by one of them, chances are that you will be caught unaware by a bunch of them and more stings will follow. A wasp stings its victim repeatedly and have a mechanism to call their mates to join in. This makes them very dangerous.
The sting causes a burning sensation which is localized to the part affected. The affected part may turn red and itch, as happens in most of the cases. However, multiple stings can cause fever, headache, muscle cramps, and drowsiness.
Treatment can be quite complicated if the person experiences an allergic reaction to venom. The symptoms in such cases may be nausea, excessive swelling, breathing trouble, or bluish face and lips resulting in immediate unconsciousness, choking, or shock. Call immediately for emergency help in case of loss of breath and shock.
Ways to Treat a Wasp Sting
- If the stinger is still in the body of the victim, scoop it out in the upward direction with a pointed object. Attempting to remove a stinger by pulling it out may inject more venom into the body. Hence, always be careful while removing stingers. An alternative way to do this is to scratch the affected part with a blunt knife.
- If the victim is not allergic to venom, then only local care will be sufficient to deal with the condition.
- Wash the affected area with soap and water and repeat the procedure if needed. For immediate relief, use a mist water spray that gives a soothing effect.
- Apply an ice pack to the affected area. Ensure that the pack is wrapped in a smooth cloth and the skin does not come in direct contact with the ice, as it may cause further irritation. Leave the pack on the skin for some time to allow it to neutralize the venom effect.
- A solution of vinegar or lemon juice helps to neutralize the effect of venom and provides a cooling effect to the skin. Severe itching can be reduced by a dose of oral antihistamine and the pain can be treated with certain drugs like ibuprofen or acetaminophen. However, a strong recommendation from a doctor is advisable before using these drugs.
- If the wasp has stung in or around the mouth, the effect of poison can be reduced by sucking ice or drinking cool water slowly.
- Rubbing the affected part with a safe and sterilized substance releases endorphins which help in reducing the pain.
- The cure or treatment hugely depends on the cultural background and psychology of the person. There are a number of traditional remedies, each found to be equally effective in many cases of wasp stings.
- Some remedies are: application of clay paste, chili paste, lavender oil, mint leaves even toothpaste, and deodorant or hot water to coagulate the venom. The important thing is that, the affected person should have a deep trust and belief in the treatment being administered.
Prevention is the best cure
A wasp sting can be avoided by precautions like -
- No fiddling or poking a wasp nest and not disturbing the insects.
- Prefer wearing light colors on an outing, especially if allergic to venom, as wasps are drawn to dark colors.
- Don't panic. Run towards a safe place amidst some vegetable patch if you are outdoors. Wasps give up a chase usually after 50 yards.
Insects or any other life forms are an integral part of our ecosystem. Hence, we must respect their way of living and try to adapt ourselves accordingly.
Disclaimer: This is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.