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Ways You Can Treat Wasp Stings

During the warmest months of the year when they’re most active in Lexington, wasps can cause serious problems. Not only do they raid parties, but their stings can also threaten lives. Even if you employ the best ways to prevent wasps from coming around your home, sometimes it’s impossible to avoid stings completely.

These effective ways to treat wasp stings will keep you prepared, just in case. So don’t let wasps ruin your summer this year.

The Three Types of Reactions

Before you treat the sting, assess the symptoms so you know the best way to respond. The three most common reactions to wasp stings are:

1. Normal or Small Local Reactions

  • Red welt around the site of the sting
  • Pale white dot where the stinger entered the skin
  • Itchiness and pain

Usually, these symptoms fade after a while, especially if you use the treatments listed below.

2. Large Local Reactions

A “large local reaction” is when the site of the sting has:

  • Abnormal amounts of swelling
  • Swelling in places other than the site of the sting
  • Swelling lasts longer than a day

By definition, large local reactions are not life-threatening. However, swelling may last for several days, and the person may experience nausea and vomiting. Symptoms typically do not last more than a week.

Talk to your doctor as soon as possible if you experience a large local reaction. Large local reactions may indicate that you have an allergy. The doctor may recommend an over-the-counter (OTC) medication to help reduce the swelling and itchiness, including antihistamines (like Allegra, Benadryl, or Zyrtec), or they may provide a stronger prescription.

The best way to avoid symptoms is to do what you can to keep wasps away. If you have consistent problems with wasps around your home, or if you are severely allergic, call a trustworthy pest professional to help you.

3. Systemic Reactions

Anaphylaxis is a life-threatening type of systemic reaction caused by allergies. Systemic reactions are serious because they can slow or speed up heart rate, obstruct breathing, and raise blood pressure.

If you or someone nearby has anaphylaxis, call 911 for an ambulance and go to the emergency room for treatment.

Anaphylaxis symptoms may include:

  • Severe swelling around the face, lips, or throat
  • Swelling in other areas of the body
  • Wheezing and difficulty breathing
  • Lightheadedness
  • Red rash, which could be itchy and may include welts or hives
  • Passing out
  • Tightness in the chest
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Hoarse voice
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach cramping
  • Pale or redness in the face and body
  • Weak or fast pulse

Although the first reaction may not have all these symptoms, future stings are likely to include more.

If you have had anaphylaxis before, carry an epinephrine injection or EpiPen that is not expired, as prescribed by a doctor. Epinephrine, also known as adrenaline, will stabilize your breathing, strengthen and regulate your heart rate, and restore your blood pressure.

There are additional things you can do if you or someone else has anaphylaxis.

Treating the Sting

None of the following methods are strong enough to save someone from a serious reaction. If you or someone you know has anaphylaxis or a systemic reaction, call 911 for immediate emergency medical care.

If the symptoms are not life-threatening, most stings can be treated at home. Most of the materials listed here can be purchased at a local pharmacy or online


  1. Clean the sting site to prevent infection. Lather soap on the area, rinse under cold water, and dry off gently with a clean towel.
  2. Use an ice pack on the sting site, but don’t hurt the skin by keeping it too cold. Remove the ice every 20 minutes to make sure the skin has enough circulation.
  3. Use a bandage if you’d like. Try not to use adhesive bandages, though, because they can irritate the skin further.
  4. Change the bandage to prevent infection.
  5. Take medications that will reduce swelling, itching, and pain.

Over-the-counter Medication

These products should help reduce swelling, itching, and other discomforts from a reaction to wasp stings. Always follow the label’s directions for use.


Antihistamines help calm allergic reactions. Chemicals called histamines are triggered by insect venoms, causing swelling, sneezing, and runny nose and eyes.

Note that some antihistamine products include decongestants, which help congestion, irritation in the throat caused by drainage from your sinuses, and runny noses.

Common over-the-counter antihistamines include:

Soothing Creams

Hydrocortisone cream or calamine lotion both are soothing for all types of itching, including allergic reactions, hives, or other conditions. Additionally, you could use Caladryl, which is essentially a combination of calamine lotion and Benadryl. Be sure not to take Caladryl and Benadryl at the same time.

Pain Reducers

Products like Acetylsalicylic acid (Aspirin), ibuprofen (like the Advil brand), or a different NSAID can help ease pain and reduce swelling.

Additional Remedies

These suggestions won’t treat wasp stings without medicines as well. But they could help soothe irritation.

Baking soda or colloidal oatmeal can be helpful for the skin. Either of these can be mixed with the bathwater. Colloidal oatmeal also comes as a cream.

Vinegar could be a remedy that might work against wasp venom. Supposedly, the acid in vinegar reacts to the alkalinity in wasp stings and reverses or neutralizes some of the poison’s effects.

Just soak a cotton ball in white vinegar or apple cider vinegar and press it against the sting area. The pressure should help with pain and inflammation.

Vinegar cannot be used for bee stings, which are acidic.

Permanently Prevent Wasp Stings

These DIY methods to keep wasps away can reduce the risk of getting stung. But for those who are severely allergic or those who have constant wasp problems around their property should seriously consider calling the professionals for a permanent solution.

Fox Pest Controlin Lexington is your solution to keep wasp problems away from you and your family. Our Pest Pros formulate a specialized treatment plan tailored to your needs.

Don’t worry about pests anymore. Our family and pet-safe products will restore your peace of mind. With Fox, you can reduce your worries and focus on what matters most.

Fox Pest Control. No Bugs. Simply Better.

Posted on July 6, 2020.

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