I hope that you will never need this wasp sting first aid information! Being stung by a wasp or bee is no fun!
Bee and wasp stings are intended to hurt - and they do! The insect is defending itself or its nest in the only way it can.
Fortunately, stings are easily dealt with for most of us.
Most wasp and bee stings range from mildly annoying to very painful.
Wasp sting first aid involves merely soothing the pain and preventing infection.
For people who are allergic, stings can range all the way from mildly annoying to (very rarely) fatal.
Go and tell your doctor about it right now!
Your doctor will have specific instructions for wasp sting first aid.
He or she may recommend that you carry an Epipen - or even that you have venom desensitizing injections every month during wasp and bee season.
Your doctor will also be able to reassure you that the chances of having an life-threatening reaction are slim.
Even if you have had a previous allergic reaction, there is a good chance (about 45%) that your reaction this time will be less severe than last time - especially if the last one happened a long time ago.
Your doctor will have told you what to do. Follow those directions and use your Epipen right away - even if you have no immediate symptoms.
Even if you feel fine, go and get checked out.
An allergic reaction can be scary. You may be tempted to panic. Don't!
The vast majority of people who have an allergy will not have an anaphylactic reaction.
Even if your symptoms are mild, get to an emergency room or clinic right away.
Putting an ice pack or cold pack on the area will help to reduce pain and swelling.
Wasps do not leave their stingers behind, so if you are positive it was a wasp and not a bee, you can skip this step.
If you are stung by a bee, the stinger may still be in the wound.
Remove it by scraping gently with a fingernail or credit card. Don't use tweezers, which can force more poison into the wound.
Use soap and water. This is a tiny open wound, after all!
You want to keep the wound clean to prevent infection.
If you have any of the symptoms listed above, seek medical attention at once.
Some wasp or bee stings can really hurt!
Focusing on the pain will only make it feel worse. Do something that requires your attention.
If the pain continues to be severe, you may choose to use ibuprofen.
If pain continues for more than 24 hours, seek medical attention.
You may have read that you should dilute and neutralize the venom to decrease your body's reaction.
According to this wasp sting first aid theory, bathing a wasp sting wound with lemon juice or vinegar should be helpful.
Bathing a bee sting with a paste of baking soda and water, they say, will neutralize it.
I haven't been able to find any scientific evidence to support these folk remedies.
When you think about it, they don't really make sense.
Once the venom has been injected under the skin and has spread through the tissues, pouring a liquid over the surface of the wound is not going to neutralize anything.
However, many people swear by this method - and it even appears in some respected first aid manuals!
Perhaps it works - or perhaps just having something to do distracts you from the pain and makes you think that it works. Either way, it can't hurt!
Any of these items applied to the sting is said to be soothing.
Once again, I haven't found any evidence that any of them works - but once again, they can't hurt!
Perhaps it is just the gentle pressure as the remedy is rubbed on the skin that does the trick.
An important element of wasp sting first aid is distracting the patients from their fear and pain. Even if they do nothing else, home remedies can be effective distractors.
What if you are unlucky enough to step on a nest of wasps or bees?
Even if you are not allergic to bee and wasp stings, multiple stings can cause "toxin load".
These symptoms may appear anytime in the first 24 hours following the stings.
They are not a sign of an allergic reaction and are not an emergency in themselves.
Sit down. Rest. You've had a shock!
Drink lots of water.
Sit in the shade - but don't allow yourself to get cold.
If you experience symptoms of an allergic reaction, get medical attention immediately.