Yellowjacket hornets can give you seriously painful sting, but for some people, these stings can be deadly. Not only should you know how to treat a sting, but you should be prepared for emergencies as well. Here's a guide to identifying and properly treating any yellowjacket stings you might receive.
First, you'll want to identify if you're dealing with a yellowjacket sting or the sting of a bee. Unlike bees, yellowjackets can sting you multiple times with their smooth but short stingers. Bees have barbed stingers, which get lodged in your sting, and leave the bee dead afterwards.
If there's no stinger lodged in your skin, you're probably dealing with a yellowjacket, as the yellowjacket's stinger will only very rarely get stuck in your skin. No matter what, the yellowjacket will inject venom into your skin, which accounts for the allergic reaction some people have.
How to Treat a Sting
Just as bees, yellowjacket stings can cause a severe allergic reaction in a small amount of people. However, for most people, the sting will cause only pain, swelling and redness. If you've been stung and aren't facing a medical emergency, there are certain treatments you can apply to your wound.
First, wash your sting with hot water and soap, which can help extract a bit of venom from the opening of your wound. From there, you can put ice on the sting or apply a wet cloth.
Surprisingly enough, you can actually put meat tenderizer on the sting with a cotton ball, as this substance contains some enzymes that can neutralize the venom. Other home remedies that are said to work are using some baking soda paste, Epsom salt or some ammonia on the sting. If you have nothing else, a bit of mud can also help soothe the sting.
There are also some over-the-counter medications you can take to help. Some find an oral antihistamine can reduce swelling and itchiness, while ibuprofen and aspirin can provide pain relief.
There are also sting swabs you can buy at most pharmacies, which are a good idea if there are a lot of yellowjackets in your area. For long-term itch relief, try applying calamine oil to the sting periodically.
For Medical Emergencies
In the case that you're having an allergic reaction, it's important to get prompt treatment. Often, symptoms will begin to appear in only a matter of minutes, but can show up hours later as well. If you notice any of the following symptoms, you should go to the hospital as quickly as possible:
- Skin swelling in areas of your body that weren't stung, especially the legs and arms
- Difficulty breathing
- Chest pains
- Nausea or vomiting
These symptoms could be a sign that you're going into anaphylactic shock, which can be life threatening if not properly treated.
Treating a yellowjacket sting promptly can give you serious relief, and recognizing the real danger signs can help save your life. Ultimately, if you see a yellowjacket nest near your property, it's time to call a pest control specialist such as Emory Brantley & Sons Termite and Pest Control, as this can help you get rid of yellowjackets before you become a sting victim.