How To Treat A Yellow Jacket Sting

Spring is here, and that means the bugs will be back! Today’s guest post deals with yellow jackets:

The yellow jackets are known predatory insects that can deliver a sting when they feel threatened and agitated. They are probably one of the most notorious insects along with honey bees. In fact, over 95% of stings suffered by children are from bees and yellow jackets.

It’s A Bee!- No, It’s A Yellow Jacket

Yellow jackets are usually mistaken for bees because of their shiny black and yellow stripes. These pesky bugs usually live in the ground, porches, and stone walls around the house. For this reason, it is very easy to stumble upon their nest and upset the colony. When these bugs grow agitated they will deliver multiple stings; thus, it is best to avoid them.

Although not everyone is allergic to yellow jacket sting, it is still advisable to avoid getting stung. Unlike bees, these bugs are capable of stinging you multiple times without causing any harm to themselves. The most likely victims of these bugs are children since they love to play outdoors. Children are also more likely to stumble upon their nest.

If your child has been stung by a yellow jacket, you need to watch out for natural and localized reactions.

  • Pain: Severe pain or burning sensation around the bite area will last for an hour or two. Itching will soon follow after the pain subsides.
  • Inflammation: Localized swelling reaction from the venom can worsen within a day following the sting. If your child has been stung on his face, it can cause swelling around the eye area, but this is harmless. The swelling can last for seven days.
  • Redness: It is normal for bug stings to become red; thus, redness around the sting area will not immediately indicate infection. This symptom can last for three days.

Unfortunately, there are some children who are allergic to bug stings. If you believe that your child is highly sensitive to insect bites and stings, you need to watch out for these allergic reactions. If symptoms start to manifest, immediately seek medical emergency treatment.

  • Your child’s breathing is labored
  • He finds it difficult to swallow two hours after the sting
  • Onset of widespread hives
  • Facial swelling

First Aid Treatment

Unlike bees, yellow jackets do not leave their stinger; however, if you find one, you must use a straight-edge to scrape away the stinger. Avoid using tweezers because you might squeeze out more venom into your child’s skin, making the sting worse.

  1. Clean the sting area. You can use hot water and mild soap to clean the sting area. Although it is rare for bug stings to get infected, it is still advisable to make sure that the area is free from bacteria and germs.
  2. Reduce swelling and itching. Swelling and itching can cause discomfort for your toddler. To minimize inflammation and itching, you can try these remedies:
    • Make a paste by mixing water and baking soda. Apply the paste onto the sting site.
    • Apply ice on the affected body part to reduce inflammation and minimize pain.
    • To alleviate itching, you can apply a small amount of ammonia onto the sting.
    • You can also give your child ibuprofen for the pain and inflammation. But before you allow him to take any medication, make sure to consult his pediatrician.

If your child starts to develop allergic reactions due to the yellow jacket sting, immediately take him to the hospital for emergency treatment. One of the most essential things you need to remember after getting stung is to provide immediate treatment.

Featured images:

The author, Kris Hopkins, is a writer for parenting websites where she writes about insect and bug bites in children. She also occasionally writes for Interstate Pest Services.

For more information on anaphylaxis, check here.

About Tony Howarth

Tony is a First Aid & CPR Instructor Trainer with Sea 2 Sky Safety Training Services and the company founder. Tony started with the British Red Cross in 1994. Has acted as first aid attendant for hundreds of events & treated many hundreds of people as a result. He is experienced in training a wide range of courses. He previously worked as an ambulance attendant with the British Red Cross. He is now in BC as a first aid instructor, and an instructor trainer (one who trains others to become instructors) Finally, Tony works at Squamish General Hospital as the pharmacist manager when not busy training safety
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