Wasp and Bee Stings Treatments: What to Do

A close up of a wasp on a man's hand

Bee and wasp stings are possibly the only hazard of a sunny picnic. It doesn’t take much to upset these tiny creatures – and when you do, you’ll know about it. Knowing a few wasp and bee sting treatments can be invaluable, so you’re able to ease discomfort quickly and enjoy your day.

In this guide we’ll show you how to get a wasp or bee stinger out, how to treat a wasp sting at home and when to seek medical attention, if for example you’re experiencing unusual symptoms like an allergic reaction.

Starting your wasp or bee sting treatment at home: How to remove the sting

Firstly, let’s look at how to get a wasp or bee stinger out. Whilst bees leave their sting behind and die, wasps often don’t – although they may leave their stinger behind if swatted during the stinging. It’s important to remove the sting quickly so that the venom doesn’t continue to release. There are two dos and don’ts to remember:

  • Do. Scrape the sting out sideways with a finger nail, card or anything thin and flat.
  • Don’t. Try to pull it out with your fingers or tweezers, as you risk snapping off the sting and leaving it in your skin

Home remedies for Wasp or Bee stings

Now you’ve got the sting out, here’s 3 options for how to treat a wasp or bee sting at home. If you have stumbled across some stinging nettles on your walk instead, check out our home remedies for nettle stings to relieve your pain.

1. How to cure a wasp or bee sting with vinegar, lemon and honey

Vinegar and lemon juice are great options if you’re looking for a bee and wasp sting home treatment. Both contain a type of acid that will help to neutralise the sting and provide a soothing sensation. Any vinegar will do, but apple cider vinegar is ideal. Here’s how to use them:

  1. Lemon. Cut a slice and place it directly over the sting, or squeeze out as much juice as you can and soak a tissue in the lemon, holding it over the affected area.
  2. Vinegar. Soak a  tissue in vinegar and rub over the sting – you can also try holding the tissue on the sting and apply a little pressure.
  3. Honey. Apply a small amount to the affected area and cover it with a tissue for up to an hour. The honey will lower the inflammation and help to repel bacteria.

Make sure to choose tissues that are strong enough to hold the lemon juice or vinegar without tearing, and soft enough to provide some extra comfort.

2. Wasp or bee sting treatments: ice and medications

Ice and drugs are other top choices to treat a wasp and bee sting and relieve the pain. The ice will help reduce swelling caused by the sting and slow down blood flow to the area, which will help with any throbbing pain. Painkillers are also a valid remedy in case you have no ready ice at home.

  1. Cold Packs. Crush a couple of ice cubes to make a cold pack – wrap them in strong facial tissues and hold over the sting for around 20 minutes. Never put any ice directly on the skin to avoid cold burns.
  2. Painkillers. Take Ibuprofen or Tylenol to relieve the pain, follow the instructions on their packaging to see how often you can take the tablets.
  3. Medication. Placing hydrocortisone cream on the sting can help reduce swelling, itchiness and redness.

3. How to treat wasp or bee stings with vegetables

Using the right vegetable can be a great home remedy for a wasp sting or bee sting. Here’s a few to try:

  1. Cucumber. Simply take a slice and rub it over the sting – cucumber promotes a slight tightening of the skin, which will help ease the pain, and it also provides a cooling sensation.
  2. Garlic. Make a paste from a crushed clove, cover your sting with it, and place a plaster over the top – the garlic juices will get to work soothing the discomfort.
  3. Onion. Cut an onion in half and place it face down on the sting and press gently until the pain has reduced.

When to seek medical attention

There are a few instances where you should seek professional medical help to help alleviate wasp stings symptoms, and ensure you aren't at risk of infection.

  1. You’ve been stung close to your eyes, in your mouth or throat
  2. Symptoms are worsening or aren’t improving after a few days
  3. You develop flu-like symptoms, such as swollen glands and fever
  4. You believe you may have had an allergic reaction – often indicated by a large area of about 10 cm or more becoming red around the sting
  5. There are signs of infection such as increasing pain or swelling

Now that you know how to get wasp stingers out, have a few different home remedies to treat them and are aware of when to seek medical attention, you’ll be well prepared in the event that you do get stung. We hope you found this guide useful and would recommend taking a look at our article on how to deter wasps altogether!

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