How to Treat a Bee or Wasp Sting

Bee or wasp stings are one of most painful experiences especially during warmer months. These insects usually sting human beings as a means of self-defense. During summers, when most people are active and spend time outdoors, there are higher chances of bee or wasp stings. These insects have special stingers which they use to inject the human body with venomous substances. However the symptoms and severity in pain may vary from person to person.

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Symptoms of Bee or Wasp Sting

  • Temporary pain
  • Allergic reactions
  • Sharp and burning pain
  • A red welt with a small white spot at the centre
  • Swelling at the site of sting

Mild symptoms are easy to cure and last only for 5-10 days. However the bee venom can trigger a more serious reaction of the immune system to people who are allergic to it. In case of multiple bee or wasp stings, it is better to seek medical help immediately.

Home Remedies to Treat Bee or Wasp Sting

Mild and moderate reactions can be cured by certain home remedies. These remedies naturally cure the pain and swelling in the sting area.

1. Remove the Stinger

The first and foremost step one should do when there is a bee or wasp sting is, removing the stinger embedded in the skin. It should be done as quickly as possible because it takes only few seconds for the venom to enter the body. Avoid pinching the stinger as it will inject more venom into the body.

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  • Scrape the area with finger nails or using a pair of tweezers to remove the stinger
  • Wash the area with antiseptic liquid
  • Pat dry and apple some antiseptic cream
  • Alternatively you can also apply calamine lotion to ease the itching and swelling
2. Ice

The next best thing to do after taking off the stinger is to apply ice cubes on the area. Cold temperature will help in reducing the inflammation causing substance to accumulate in the site of sting. It numbs the pain and reduces the swelling as well.

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  • Wrap few ice cubes in a thin towel
  • Hold this pack on the affected area for 10-15 minutes
  • Reapply every few hours until the pain and swelling is gone
  • Alternatively, you can use glass bottle filled with cold water or a bag of frozen peas for the same.
3. Baking Soda

Baking soda has alkaline properties and helps in neutralizing the acidic venom. It has anti-septic and anti-inflammatory properties that helps in reducing the swelling and itching around that area.

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  • Mix one spoon of baking soda with just enough water to make a paste
  • Apply this paste on the sting site and leave it for 5 to 20 minutes
  • Wash the area with lukewarm water
  • Repeat this process after every few hours until the pain is gone
4. Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar has acid neutralizing properties and so it is used for curing a number of diseases and infections. It helps in neutralizing the bee or wasp venom and eases the itching and swelling in the area of sting. It is recommended to use only raw and unfiltered apple cider vinegar.

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  • Soak a cotton ball in raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar
  • Hold the cotton ball on the site of sting for 5 to 10 minutes
  • Repeat the process 3-4 times a day until the symptoms subsides
  • White vinegar also can be used for the same instead of apple cider vinegar
5. Witch Hazel

Witch hazel is the most effective remedies when it comes to treating bee or wasp stings. It has anti-inflammatory and astringent properties which help in easing the pain and swelling.

Witch hazel flowers, studio shot with white background.

  • Take some chilled witch hazel and soak a cotton ball in it
  • Dab it on the affected area and allow it to dry on its own
  • Repeat as needed
6. Honey

Honey is another good remedy for bee stings as it dilutes the venom reduces the risk of infection. The anti-bacterial nature of honey helps in killing the bacteria around the infection and promotes faster healing.

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  • Smear some pure and raw honey on the sting area
  • Allow it to dry for sometime and then rinse it off with warm water
  • Alternatively, you can mix honey with turmeric and make a paste
  • Apply this paste on the affected area and keep it for sometime before rinse it off
  • Repeat the process 3-4 times a day until relief is felt
7. Aloe Vera

Aloe vera is an excellent source of vitamin E and has anti-inflammatory properties. It has soothing effects on the skin and thus it helps in calming the effects of sting.

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  • Wash an aloe vera leaf and slit open it using a knife
  • Extract the gel and apply it on the bee stung area
  • Leave it to dry and repeat the process few times a day until relief is felt
8. Peppermint

Peppermint has disinfectant properties that soothe the sting and itching. It also has anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties that help in reducing the pain, swelling and inflammation.

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  • Apply 1-2 drops of peppermint oil on the site of sting directly
  • Another option is to mix peppermint oil with any carrier oils such as olive oil or coconut oil and then applying it on the affected area
  • Extract juice from fresh peppermint leaves and rub it on the affected area
  • Leave it for sometime and then rinse it off with cool water

All these home remedies are very effective in case of mild symptoms of bee or wasp sting. Otherwise, in case of severe poisoning due to the venomous sting, it is advised to seed immediate medical assistance.

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