Thoughts and insights from a Wellness Expert
Bee, Wasp and Hornet Stings
I am usually of the opinion that Bees, Wasps and Hornets will not sting unless provoked. Well today I was proved wrong! Minding my own business lying in the sun and I felt something crawling on my leg, I swiped it away and that's when I felt the sting. Now luckily I am a Health Practitioner and teach first aid, I´m also into natural medicine.
I instinctively looked to see if the sting was still there and it was, sticking out of my thigh. I ran to get the tweezers and removed the sting and then doused the area with white vinegar. After about 5 - 10 minutes the pain subsided and luckily no swelling just a bit of redness.
It made me think though about the difference between a Bee sting and a Wasp or Hornet sting and how many people would know how to quickly stop any adverse effects.
If a stinger is left in the body it needs to be removed as soon as possible. It is important that you don't squeeze the area as you can push it deeper in and release the poison. Use whatever you have available to remove it. That can be a credit card, tweezers, or a needle. It is best to clean the area with water before applying remedies however time is a factor so do not delay.
Wasp and Hornet stings
The venom released by the Wasp and Hornet is alkaline and therefore an acid, like vinegar will neutralize it you can also use Apple Cider Vinegar or lemon juice. Soak the area with the vinegar / lemon juice first of all applying directly to the skin and then using a cloth or bandage apply to the sting site for about 10 - 15 minutes the skin will absorb the vinegar / lemon juice and help to prevent the venom being absorbed.
The venom from Bee stings is acidic, so in this case we want an alkaline agent to neutralize the venom.
Sodium Bicarbonate (Baking Soda) is a great remedy to use you can make a paste by mixing the sodium bicarbonate with water. Apply the paste to the sting site and leave on for about 15 minutes or more. The skin will absorb the sodium bicarbonate and help to neutralize the venom. Also useful if you do not have any sodium bicarbonate is a potato, slice the potato and apply directly to the sting site, again for about 15 minutes.
Emergency Allergic Reactions
If you experience any difficulty breathing, nausea, blurred vision, extreme swelling or dizziness, then there is a possibility that you may have an allergic reaction. If you are experiencing symptoms please seek medical attention immediately as an allergic reaction can lead to anaphylactic shock.
A normal reaction is to experience pain, burning, itchiness, redness and swelling. Pain will last for anything from a few minutes to a few hours then should disappear. If you notice your hands or fingers starting to swell, remove rings immediately. Avoid rubbing the site.
Linda Ledwidge -
Qualified General Nurse
Certified Practioner Level IV
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