How to Treat a Wasp or Hornet Sting

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The sting of a wasp or hornet is considered venomous. Quick removal of the stinger and proper follow-up care will help reduce pain and minimize swelling of the site.

Difficulty:
Moderate

Instructions

Things You'll Need

  • Hydrocortisone Creams
  • Antihistamines
  • Topical Anesthetic
  • Analgesics
  • Ice
  • Butter Knives
    • 1

      Remove the stinger. Scrape a dull butter knife against your skin in the opposite direction of the stinger entry. It should pop out. Some sources recommend removing a stinger with tweezers. However, this method can potentially inject more venom into your skin as you attempt to pry and prod out the stinger.

    • 2

      Reduce pain and swelling with ice. Try to avoid putting ice directly on skin, because it can cause a flesh burn. Instead, use an ice pack or wrap a washcloth around the ice. Remove it after 10 to 15 minutes and dry the site thoroughly.

    • 3

      Use a topical antihistamine, such as diphenhydramine hydrochloride, available in cream, stick or gel.

    • 4

      Opt for a topical anesthetic for pain not relieved by antihistamine. Consider topical lidocaine or benzocaine.

    • 5

      Apply a topical hydrocortisone cream to reduce allergic reaction around site.

    • 6

      Take an oral analgesic, like ibuprofen, for general pain that may result from venom circulating throughout your bloodstream.

    • 7

      Consider applying moist baking soda or mud to the sting site. Although there is no scientific evidence that these remedies work, some people find that they provide relief.

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