There are several home remedies for the mild swelling that is very common after a wasp sting. People can bring down the inflammation with a number of household items, including meat tenderizer, toothpaste, baking soda, vinegar, lemon juice, and ice. An over-the-counter antihistamine may also reduce the swelling.
As soon as a person is stung by a wasp, the area should be cleaned using soap and water or alcohol to help prevent infection. Infection after a wasp sting is relatively rare, but it is possible.
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After the area is cleaned, many people use meat tenderizer to reduce the swelling from wasp stings. A thick paste of meat tenderizer and water can be applied to the area and left on for about 30 minutes, or until it dries. An enzyme called papain that is present in meat tenderizer is believed to break down the poison and venom of many insects, including wasps and bees. This enzyme is found naturally in papaya, and applying a slice of the fruit on the sting is said to have the same effect.
Another common way to bring down the swelling from wasp stings is to spread toothpaste on the area that was stung. Many people believe toothpaste draws the poison out of the skin as it dries. A thick paste of baking soda and water can also help relieve the swelling. If none of these household items are readily available, mud or wet clay can also be used to cover the area, since it is thought to work in the same manner.
Some people mix either meat tenderizer or baking soda with an acidic solution. Some evidence shows that wetting the area of the sting with a mildly acidic solution, like vinegar or lemon juice, can also help relieve the inflammation. These solutions can help neutralize the effects of the wasp venom, which is a base.
Many medical professionals believe that applying ice is one of the best ways to keep down the swelling from wasp stings. An ice pack, individual ice cubes, or just about anything else that is frozen can be wrapped in a towel and applied over the swollen area. This can be left on for up to 30 minutes. If it is not wrapped in a towel or it is left on any longer, however, the extreme cold can possibly further damage the soft tissues.
Hydrocortisone cream is an over-the-counter medicine often used to treat the itching and swelling from stings. This cream is relatively inexpensive, and it can be usually be purchased at any pharmacy or large chain store. It works by stopping the body from producing substances that cause inflammation. Applying a thin layer of the cream over the wasp sting can help reduce the swelling.
If a person is allergic to wasp stings or bee stings, emergency medical attention is usually required. People with allergies will usually experience trouble breathing, dizziness, and nausea. Dangerous swelling from wasp stings could also occur around the mouth and throat.