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How To Tell If Your Allergic To Wasp Stings
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What’s The Difference Between Bee Stings Vs Wasp Stings?
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This article was medically reviewed by Jason R. McKnight, MD, MS, is a family medicine physician and clinical assistant professor at Texas A&M School of Medicine.
Our stories are vetted by medical professionals to ensure you get the most accurate and useful information about your health and wellness. For more information, please visit our Medical Review Board.
Stinging insects like bees and wasps are most active during the warmer months and can be a nuisance. While any insect sting can be painful, wasps are especially notorious.
Steps To Take Immediately After A Bee Sting
This is because wasps are aggressive and sting many times more than bees. Additionally, a wasp sting is painful and irritating, and can be dangerous if you have allergies.
Here’s what you should know about wasp stings, how to treat them effectively, and what you can do to prevent them.
If you are stung by a wasp, you will usually experience pain and swelling in and around the wound. Willachai/Getty Images
If you are stung by a bee, it will leave a stinger on your skin with a small black spot in the stinger. Wasps, on the other hand, retain their stingers, according to Keith Delaplane, who has a Ph.D. in entomology and is director of the University of Georgia’s Bee Program.
My Dog Was Stung By A Wasp
Privia’s allergist and immunologist, Dr. Courtney Jackson Blair says people who have an allergic reaction to a wasp sting experience symptoms that disrupt the ABCs: airways, breathing and circulation. These symptoms may include:
Allergies to insect bites are rare. While some people may experience only mild allergic reactions, more severe reactions can be fatal. For example, 89 Americans died from insect bite allergies in 2017, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Important note: To develop an insect bite allergy, you need to be bitten — so you may not know you’re allergic until you develop symptoms, says Blair.
Additionally, stings in the mouth or throat can cause life-threatening symptoms, such as difficulty breathing. If you think you’re having a serious reaction to an insect bite, Blair says you should call 911 or local emergency medical services immediately.
The Ultimate Guide To Stinging Pests
The aggressiveness of wasps and their ability to sting more than once puts you at risk of more than one sting. Even if you’re not allergic to insect bites, repeated bites on a sustained basis can lead to severe reactions or other health complications.
A rare complication of multiple stings is renal failure due to insufficiency or exudation of tissue damaged by the venom. This may happen a few days after the initial sting.
Between 20 and 200 stings are enough to cause kidney failure or death, according to a small 2015 study.
If you have been stung in multiple places and show signs of a severe reaction, seek medical attention immediately. If you don’t have a serious reaction, you can treat your sting at home, but you should consult your doctor about what to do if other complications develop.
What To Do About Allergic Reaction To Wasp Sting; Anaphylactic Shock
2. Apply ice to the sting site to reduce swelling and pain (10 minutes of ice, then another 10 minutes of ice for 30 minutes to an hour).
4. To treat swelling and itching, consider taking an over-the-counter antihistamine, such as Claritin. You can also take Tylenol (acetaminophen) for pain relief.
There are many types of wasps, as well as other stinging insects that look alike. Here’s how to identify the different types of wasps and their analogues:
According to Delaplaine, wasps feed on animal protein—which is why you might see them gobbling down your hamburger at a summer barbecue.
Wasp & Bee Stings
Wasps are narrower than bees and have a pointed underbelly. Certain types of bees, such as bees, die after stinging, while wasps can sting more than once.
While both types of insects defend their nests when threatened, wasps are more aggressive and use their stingers as weapons to hunt.
They usually build underground nests that, depending on the time of year, can house thousands of insects. Disturbing a yellow jacket’s nest will cause a swarm.
Like other wasps, they are carnivorous and are attracted to other insects as well as human food and sweet drinks. Accidentally drinking a drink while wearing a yellow jacket can cause a tingling in the mouth or throat.
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Bumblebees are a type of wasp that are usually larger and thicker than other wasps. In the United States, the most common hornets are the yellow and brown European hornet and the black and white bald hornet.
They nest in hollow areas of trees and buildings, such as barns, where they feed on sap and fruit, as well as other insects.
European giant hornets are likely nocturnal and may be attracted to sweets and drinks from humans. Like other wasps, they can sting multiple times.
Important note: When you see a wasp, don’t chase it away, says Delaplaine. Slapping puts the wasp into defensive mode, making it easier to sting you.
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If a wasp approaches you, the best thing to do is to stay calm and back away slowly.
Wasps are annoying and painful, but they are an important part of natural ecosystems. For example, wasps pollinate flowers and eat other insects and pests that damage crops and gardens.
However, wasps can become aggressive, especially if their nest is disturbed or you suddenly pounce on them while they are feeding near you. In most cases, a sting causes pain and swelling that can be treated at home with over-the-counter remedies and medications such as meat tenderizers or baking soda.
However, if you notice signs of a severe or allergic reaction, such as shortness of breath, fainting, or tightness in the throat or chest, call 911 and get medical help right away.
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Zoe is an editorial production fellow at McDonald’s Reference Desk, where she maintains a growing staff of adjunct instructors in the health vertical. Previously, Zoe worked as an Associate Producer at Meredith Corporation, producing videos for brands such as Fitness, Southern Living, and Real Simple. She graduated from the University of Mississippi with a degree in journalism and currently lives in Birmingham, Alabama, where she enjoys the city’s eats and hikes with her dog.
We may receive a commission when you make a purchase through our links, but our reports and recommendations are always independent and objective. If you spend any time outdoors, you will encounter wasps. Here’s what you should know if you’ve been stung.
Summer is perfect for enjoying the sun outside. But even when wasps and other annoying pests are around.
Bite with teeth but their short jaws are not what they are known for. It is their stingers that most people fear.
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Unlike bees, whose stingers stay in the skin, wasps store their stingers after an attack so they can sting more than once. This is one of the key differences between wasps and bees. Hornets are also more aggressive. Although many people prefer to keep wasps and bees out of their yards, some backyards have beehives, and wasps may attack these home colonies as they forage.
No, wasps don’t die after stinging. Bee stingers — except for bumblebees — have a large barb that, when used, rips it from the body, killing the bee.
According to the Washington State Department of Health, the wasp’s tiny barbs don’t sting the target. Even after a wasp stings multiple times, its sting remains. So if you’re wondering what to do when a wasp stings you, just leave it alone before it attacks again.
Reactions to wasp venom vary from person to person. Some only have mild pain and redness. Others may have severe allergic reactions.
Pet First Aid
Typical wasp sting symptoms include severe pain at the sting site, redness and a raised sore with a small white mark in the center. These minor reactions should subside within a few hours. More severe symptoms may include redness or swelling, nausea, and vomiting that last or worsen for several days.
Be careful if you or someone near you is stung by a wasp
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