Bees, wasps, hornets and yellow jackets are the most common stinging insects in the U.S. One of the best ways to prevent these stings is to leave the insects alone– as many insects many may only sting in self defense. Wear light colored clothing, avoid perfumes. Wear clean clothing and shower regularly– sweat attracts bees. In addition avoid flowering shrubs and don’t leave food containers open.
If you are stung, wash the area with soap and water and remove the stinger by scraping with a fingernail. Do not use tweezers; they can cause more venom to be injected from the stinger. Apply ice to the area to reduce swelling, and don’t scratch because scratching will only make matters worse and can cause infection. It can be helpful to apply an OTC 1% hydrocortisone ointment or cream or baking soda paste to the area until the irritation subsides.
Allergic reactions to stings can be very serious. You may have difficulty breathing and have swelling of your face, tongue, or throat. If you have allergies to insect stings, talk to your doctor about obtaining a prescription insect sting allergy kit, called an EPI or Epinephrine Kit, a medical ID bracelet and allergy shot treatments. See all the Allergy Comfort Zone Blogs