Wasp! Everything You Need To Know About The Consequences Of Its Sting And How To Avoid It

Date August 17, 2018 15:18

In the warm season we often encounter different insects - ants, beetles, and wasps. And if the first two ones are not that scary, meeting a bunch of wasps can frighten a lot of people. A wasp’s bite is painful as well as dangerous, because its stinger contains venom.

The two species of wasps – common and German – have adapted to live alongside humans. The former build nests in trees and under the wooded roofs, while German wasps like to settle underground, under driftwood and in the burrows of animals, that's why you should watch where you step. Usually, wasps attack when their nest is disturbed. They can also attack if you make abrupt movements. A good thing is that wasps don’t mess with people without a reason.

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What to do to avoid being stung by a wasp?

1. When you are in the nature, inspect the place for suspicious nests of insects, because even an ant-hill can spoil your rest. Don’t touch the nests if found, it’s better to move away.

2. When a wasp flies nearby, don’t flap your arms about brushing it away. This can trigger its defensive reaction. Let it fly away on its own, while moving gently or staying still.

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3. Don’t leave sweet snacks or foods, such as fruits, honey, carbonated drinks, and juices, open, since they attract the wasps with their smell.

4. If you are allergic, it is better to avoid places where wasps can live in large numbers. Carry antiallergic drugs on you.

5. If you kill a wasp next to its nest, released substances (pheromones) will attract other wasps to defend.

6. Don’t try to remove a wasp nest at the peak of their reproduction period (mid and late summer) on your own. It is very dangerous. You will jeopardize small children, pregnant women, and people with allergies.

Lubos Chlubny /

7. You can arrange traps in the form of a bottle with bait. For this, take a bottle and cut it in half. Pour some bait in the bottom part and turn the upper part its neck down, then they will get stuck inside.

Consequences of a sting

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Each person has their own individual reaction to a wasp sting. People who are sensible to certain allergens (for example, histamine, which is contained in wasp’s venom), the reaction can be more severe and dangerous.

1. Immediately after a sting a person feels a burning pain, swelling and redness appear. To relieve the pain and reduce swelling, you may apply something cold, such as a bottle of water or ice.

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2. Pain in the stung area increases and itching appears. If a person isn’t allergic, the pain passes in a couple of hours, the swelling subsides after a day or two. The breathing and heart rate may temporarily increase (heart rate - up to 100 / min, respiratory rate - up to 22 / min). As a rule, these symptoms go away along with the pain syndrome. But if the respiratory and heart rate increase rapidly, this may be a sign of the onset of an allergic reaction and it is necessary to call an ambulance

3. The blood sugar level may rise in diabetic patients.

4. The allergic reaction can begin with the sting welt increasing in size, local and general temperature rising, nausea and vomiting. In especially severe cases, the allergic reaction can proceed like a type of anaphylactic shock with a significant drop in the blood pressure causing a person to lose consciousness. In this case, you need to call an ambulance urgently.

The appearance of urticaria, swelling of the lips and tongue, sore throat (even if the person has been stung in a different part of the body), shortness of breath, abdominal colics and diarrhea are serious reasons to seek medical help.

The allergic reaction is classified by severity:

  • mild symptoms: swelling and redness in the affected area; pain in the area of a sting; localized urticarial; a runny nose with watery discharge from the nose and tearing;
  • symptoms of moderate severity: pain attacks in the abdominal cavity, nausea, and vomiting, dizziness, chills;
  • signs of a severe allergic reaction: breathing difficulties as a result of swelling of the larynx; a hoarse voice; cough attacks sometimes of a barking type; a sudden drop in the blood pressure; impairment of consciousness, partial or extensive paralysis; incoherent speech and incomprehensible gestures; excitability or its opposite;  squeezing heart pain;
  • anaphylactic shock is the strongest reaction to the allergen, which leads to the failure of the normal function of organs and systems. It develops instantly. Precursors are: face swelling, increased heart rate, sudden fever, a feeling of lack of air, tingling in the mouth. The shock itself causes the patient to lose consciousness and stop breathing.

5. If a wasp stings the eye, then due to the local swelling of the neck and tongue tissues the airways can get blocked, which leads to suffocation.

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If the condition quickly deteriorates, you need to take antihistamines and call an ambulance as soon as possible.

There is one more reason why a sting of this insect is dangerous - it causes sensitization. This means that your body may have no reaction to the first sting, but the following ones will lead to dangerous or even life-threatening consequences.

Source: Yekaterina Zakharova, a zoologist

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This article is solely for informational purposes. Do not self-diagnose or self-medicate, and in all cases consult a certified healthcare professional before using any information presented in the article. The editorial board does not guarantee any results and does not bear any responsibility for any harm that may result from using the information provided in the article.