Three of the most infamous stingers are – bees, wasps and yellow jackets. These creatures are quite scary because they can sting more than once, especially the latter two. People have varied reactions to insect stings. Some only have a mild reaction to stings, but others experience severe allergic reactions that require medical intervention to prevent coma or death.
How to Avoid Getting Stung
The most sensible thing to do if you don’t want to get stung by yellow jackets is to avoid them. But these creatures are known to sting even without provocation. Still, there are ways to avoid aggravating these aggressive insects. Here are some tips.
- Remain calm.
Naturally, when you get scared, you can’t help but shake, tug or pull. These actions might scare away other kinds of insects, but not the yellow jacket. Quick movements might only incite the creatures further. Therefore, when you see a yellow jacket nearby, slowly walk away. Avoid running or flailing your arms in an attempt to frighten it away.
- Do not smack the insect.
If a yellow jacket lands on you, do not attempt to squish it because it could sting you. Wait for the insect to fly away or gently and very carefully brush it off. Also, in case you successfully crush the insect, it will release a pheromone that will only attract more yellow jackets to the area. So, you further endanger yourself.
- Properly secure foods when having a picnic or eating outdoors.
Yellow jackets are drawn to sweet drinks, and they are likely to try out the sodas or juice drinks that you’ve brought with you outdoors. To avoid attracting these insects, make sure that fruit juices and sodas are covered properly. If possible, use straws instead.
First Aid for Yellow Jacket Stings
General First Aid Rules
1. Wash the injured area with soap and water.
2. Pat the area dry and apply a topical antiseptic.
3. Place an ice pack over the stung area to relieve swelling and pain.
4. Over-the-counter antihistamines can also help alleviate the pain and reduce swelling.
5. Use home remedies that aid in easing the stinging sensation. Here are some examples.
- A paste made of meat tenderizer powder and some water can help neutralize the venom.
- A paste of baking soda and water allays the pain too.
When Stung in the Face, Mouth or Throat
If a person has been stung in the face, mouth or throat, bring the victim to the emergency room as soon as possible. Or, call 9-1-1 at once. Being stung in such areas is very dangerous because swelling in the face and most especially in the mouth or throat can cause swelling that can compromise breathing.
When the Person Stung is Hypersensitive
People who are sensitive to insect stings must be brought to a hospital immediately. Once they are experiencing a severe allergic reaction or anaphylaxis, they should be given epinephrine or other emergency medicines that will stop them from getting into a coma or dying. As a precaution, those with severe allergies must bring with them an EpiPen or an epinephrine auto injector just in case they get stung.
About the Author: Claire Lassiter is a freelancer who specializes in issues about pests and how they can affect health. Her articles, some of which have been used by a Nashville extermination company, aim to disseminate info about how to address pest-related problems.