How to Treat a Wasp Sting

Wondering how to treat a wasp sting? It's easy. In fact, it is so simple that you probably already have the ingredients you need to treat a wasp sting in your kitchen cupboard right now. If you spend a lot of time outdoors, you may want to take note of the ingredients needed for this wasp sting remedy and pack up a little baggie of supplies to bring along with you when you take your kids to the park, go hiking or go camping. It's easy to be prepared with the best treatment for a wasp sting, no matter where or when.

Wasp Sting Symptoms
A wasp sting is never fun. The following are common symptoms of a wasp sting:


  • Intense pain at the sting site
  • Red raised bump at sting site
  • Swelling around sting site

Wasp Sting Treatment
If a wasp stings you, follow these steps for minimization of pain:

  1. Remove the stinger: You can do this by scraping with a credit card, key, nail file or other hard, flat object; you can also pull the stinger out with your fingers. Wasp stingers are easier to remove than bee stingers because the stinger is not barbed. However, this is also why a wasp can sting you multiple times, whereas a bee can only sting you once; the barbed stinger will come off a bee after it stings you, ripping a hole in the abdominal wall of the bee and causing its death, whereas a wasp may not lose its stinger until after stinging you multiple times.
  2. Wash the affected area: If possible, get the site of the sting under cold water immediately.
  3. Apply a paste to draw out the venom: Apply a layer of thick paste made from either baking soda and water or meat tenderizer and water. If you do not have either of these available, apply a paste of mud. Do not leave the paste on for more than thirty minutes.
  4. Apply ice: Hold a bag of ice over the paste on the area. The ice will reduce the pain and inflammation.
  5. Medicate: Take one dose of Benadryl (antihistamine) and one dose of a pain killer (acetaminophen).
  6. After 20 minutes, wash again: Remove the paste and ice and wash the affected area with soap and cold water.
  7. Protect from infection: Apply a layer of anti-biotic ointment such as Neosporin.
  8. Ice as needed: Keep applying ice until pain is tolerable.  You may experience pain for any length of time between a few hours to a couple days.

Watch for Allergic Reaction
An allergic reaction can occur within seconds or hours. About 3 percent of the population is allergic to wasp stings; less than 1 percent are seriously allergic, requiring an epinephrine pen to ward off anaphylactic shock, which can result in death. If you notice any of the following symptoms, seek immediate medical care by calling 911:

  • Swelling of the face, throat, eyes or lips
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Blue-tinged skin
  • Nausea
  • Disorientation

If the person who was stung carries an epinephrine pen, call 911 and let the emergency personnel guide you through using the pen while you wait for the emergency crew to arrive. If you cannot call 911, use the pen immediately.

Items to Pack for a Wasp Sting Treatment Package
When packing a wasp sting treatment package, be sure to include the following:

  • A baggie with 1 tablespoon of either baking soda or powdered meat tenderizer
  • One dose of Benadryl
  • One dose of acetaminophen

All three of these items are small enough to fit into a wallet, purse, knapsack or first aid kit.

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