A yellow jacket is a predatory wasp found in North America and belongs to the genera Vespula and Dolichovespula. The other members of this genera are commonly known as 'wasps'. They are just like honey bees, black and yellow and a few are black and white in appearance. A few species have a red-colored abdomen. A yellow jacket can sting without provocation. All females can sting and can continue to sting multiple times.
A yellow jacket may sting many times and most of the time, the stinger might not remain lodged in the skin. However, in case you see a sting, do not pull it or squeeze it out. Here's what you need to do:
- You need to scrape it off using a credit card or something similar. This will help prevent the venom from spreading and increasing the swelling and pain.
- Apply ice on the affected area. The cold compress helps in reduction of swelling and pain. You can clean the area with alcohol and soap and even use peroxide to clean the wound.
- Another remedy includes making a paste of baking soda and water. Apply this paste on the sting site for relief.
- In case of itchy skin, you can dip a cotton ball in ammonia and dab it on the wound. This will help provide some relief from the itchiness.
- The remedy for reduction of inflammation is ibuprofen. You can take a bath in Epsom salts that will help reduce pain, swelling and itching. You can even apply a paste of meat tenderizer as it will help in neutralizing venom. A mudpack of soil and water will help in drawing out venom from the wound.
- You can take medications like ibuprofen and acetaminophen to reduce the pain. Applying an over-the-counter antihistamine ointment or cream will provide relieve from itching. Diphenhydramine will be helpful in reduction of swelling. Minor allergic reactions to stings may be seen before the onset of major allergic reaction. You will see some localized swelling and redness in the area.
- If there is massive swelling, it means one is suffering from an allergic reaction and needs immediate medical treatment. When one observes red streaks, pus and no reduction in the swelling, it means it is a sign of infection. This requires attention from a doctor and medical treatment.
- Always keep alcohol, peroxide, baking soda, ice pack and ibuprofen ready in your first aid for wasp sting. If you feel there is something wrong and the swelling or pain does not reduce, seek immediate medical attention.
- A delayed reaction may occur several hours after the sting. One may feel tired, and feel extremely ill. This delayed reaction needs urgent medical attention. Do not waste any time and call for help, especially if the person develops breathing trouble.
- Never attempt to self-medicate, especially during pregnancy. Consult a doctor for medications that are safe to use during pregnancy. If you are allergic to bee stings, then do not waste any time. Go to the doctor immediately and get yourself examined for the yellow jacket sting.
Although, it is not completely possible to prevent a yellow jacket from stinging, one can take precautions that reduce the risk of getting stung. Yellow jackets tend to hide around porches, decks, stone walls as well as corners and holes around the house.
- These wasps are attracted to the smell of human sweat. If the insect is hungry, it may get attracted to the smell of sweat and sting humans.
- It has also been found, these insects are attracted to dark-colored clothes. Thus, if you live in an area that is infested or are planning to spend your time outdoors, wear light-colored clothing.
- These insects are also attracted to perfumes and other fragrances. So, avoid wearing heavy fragrances especially ones that have natural tones when outside.
- Never, ever squash or swat a yellow jacket on purpose. This will cause the dead insect to release certain odor that will attract other yellow jackets to attack.
Yellow jacket can sting multiple times and each sting increases the amount of venom in the system. Some people may be highly allergic to the sting, therefore make sure you always have a sting treatment kit ready when planning outdoor trips.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.