©2018 WebMD, Inc. All rights reserved. eMedicineHealth does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. See Additional Information.

Bee and Wasp Stings

Question:

What self-care did you use on your bee and/or wasp sting? Submit Your Comment

Comment from: Citygirl60, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: October 09

I wiped the stung area with an antiseptic wipe and then took Benadryl because I had hives all over my body. I never had a reaction like this before, I am not sure if it was a wasp or a bee.

Comment from: labriq, 75 or over Female (Patient) Published: September 19

I used 1 percent hydrocortisone and vinegar rinse for my wasp sting.

Comment from: Linda, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: October 19

I had a rash all over my body from a wasp sting. Never reacted like that before. I was throwing up, could not keep the Benadryl down. Finally I used aloe vera on the rash and it helped relieve it. Several hours later I was able to take the Benadryl and keep it down, then a friend brought me calendula homeopathic medicine, very cooling and took away the painful itching and raised welts. I highly recommend aloe vera and especially calendula for the rash, and antihistamine to stop the body's overreaction to the sting.

Comment from: Mitch, 75 or over Female (Patient) Published: July 20

I was stung by a yellow jacket on my leg just above the ankle about 2 weeks ago. Immediately I put ice on it and used very cold water on it the rest of the day. I didn't swell until a day later. A few days later I got terrible itching. I tried cortisone cream, Lanacane and more ice without relief. Finally in desperation I tried aloe vera capsules I had on hand; instant relief from itching. I did not need another application. By next day, the swelling was down and I could see it was healing. Now I can still see a small dot where I was stung and there's a little discoloration but all is well.

Comment from: zyggystardust, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: July 14

I just got stung on the edge of my hand by a nasty wasp. The stinger came out when I flicked the wasp off my hand. It hurt terribly. I patted the spot with a paper towel moistened with vinegar. The relief was instant. I know some doctors claim it is only a placebo effect, but it worked. It started hurting again after 10 minutes, so I reapplied the vinegar. Relief again.

Comment from: Son, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: September 11

I used vinegar on the wasp sting.

Comment from: Alf, 19-24 Male (Patient) Published: January 11

You should put some cold water on bee/wasp sting for 5 minutes.

Comment from: Dotty99, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: March 30

I was stung on my inner wrist into a vein by a wasp. The pain was horrendous, I immediately bathed it and put on some antiseptic cream. I took 2 ibuprofen tablets and an antihistamine. The pain continued and the area became red and my hand started to swell up (I had taken my rings off). I looked online to see if there was anything else I could try as I was feeling terrible. I read about putting a one pence coin on it for about 10 minutes. With nothing to lose I held it over where the sting had been and almost immediately the swelling started to subside. Pian is now gone and only a slight redness still can be seen. The penny seemed to do the trick, must be something in the metal.

Comment from: OnlyVal, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: July 29

I was stung by a red wasp on my arm July 9. It hurt at first, then my arm swelled up like a football and was very red and itchy. Doctor said it was infected and gave me steroid shot and wrapped it up and told me to keep it on ice pack. Yesterday while I was sleeping, I was again stung by a red wasp. I felt a tickle on my arm and brushed it away and the wasp attached itself to my finger and stung me. This time it hurts all the time and my hand and fingers are so swollen I can't even pick up a coffee cup. Remedy: Benadryl, sit and rest arm on a pillow with an ice pack. These stings last at least two weeks for me.

Comment from: 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: July 29

Toothpaste - advice from my mother-in-law, mother of 12 children. Best to use the white kind with baking soda. The pain from the bee/wasp sting goes away within a few minutes; no swelling, no healing. Done.

Comment from: emismom, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: September 09

I was stung by a paper wasp. I happened to have a can of Burt's Bees brand natural insect repellant. The stinging pain was very intense. I thought it couldn't make it worse. I got the repellent on the sting within a minute of getting stung and was astonished that the pain was gone in less than 30 seconds. I had minor swelling and barely noticeable itching. 10 hours later, the skin around the area only feels slightly tight. I was stung 20+ times when I stepped on a nest as a child. I think they were hornets. My ankles swelled up so big I couldn't put socks on. My friend's mother put wet tobacco from a cigarette on them. Didn't do a thing to help.

SLIDESHOW

Could I Be Allergic? Discover Your Allergy Triggers See Slideshow
Comment from: grandpa, 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: November 24

I was stung by a paper wasp 10 years ago, on my upper back. A red spot big as a quarter lasted 4 days. Two days ago I had a skin cancer cut off, same spot, same size.

Comment from: ms jane, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: September 05

When my husband and I were camping, he got into a wasp nest. Our neighbor camper told him to use a raw onion. We now swear by the onion for bee stings. The onion stops the pain immediately. Just hold it on the sting for a few minutes. It may not stop the swelling a lot, but it really stops the pain. My granddaughter was stung by yellow jackets and this totally stopped her pain and the swelling. Keep an onion handy. It works!

Comment from: Shall1, 3-6 Female (Caregiver) Published: October 09

I got stung in the ankle by a red wasp. It was the most painful thing I have ever felt! I couldn't immediately do anything because I was working, but every time I stepped, shooting pain shot up my leg. By day two, my entire foot and a third of my lower let swelled. I went to the doctor and she said it was a local reaction. She gave me an antibiotic because it looked infected and told me to ice it, take Benadryl, and elevate. It took two weeks to get better. And my ankle still feels bruised months later.

Published: August 06

I am 60 years old and have been stung many times by wasps and the like. I was stung on my ankle a few hours ago and have been miserable. I thank everyone who has contributed to this site, so that I did not panic. I live in remote place and medical care is not easily available. My first response was to use baking soda paste. Then I took two Benadryl and applied an ice bag. The first night I also took Tylenol with codeine for the pain. I still couldn't sleep. The only way to get rid of the pain was when the area was numb by the ice pack. I continued taking Benadryl, applying ice packs and using alternately cortisone cream, Caladryl and witch hazel. I don't know how much any of this has helped. I just know that I am in pain because my ankle is swollen so greatly and also suffering from itching. Tomorrow I am starting a 30-hour journey to Asia. I hope this gets better, or I will have a very miserable trip.

Published: January 31

I got stung by a bee I immediately crush a garlic clove and rubbed it all over and kill the pain and I had no swelling.

Comment from: Dike tembald, 7-12 Male (Patient) Published: November 26

When I was 10 years old, I found a nest of paper wasps and I ran away. But then a wasp landed on my left arm and stung me once or twice. I screamed in pain but then I noticed that I wasn't feeling better for the past hour. I was at camp that time and I was at the woods. I first tried to take it out but it was deep in my skin. I panicked and screamed really loud. I sat for a second and as I was saying, I wasn't feeling good for the past hour. Then I fell to the ground. I crawled back to the camp site, my parents saw the swelling and that I was extremely dizzy. They took the stingers out but then right there I threw up and passed out. Later I found myself at the local emergency hospital.

Comment from: Kathy Alberts, 45-54 Female Published: October 30

Last spring, I was planting flowers and I thought I was bitten by a spider. After seeing some of these pictures and reading posts, I believe it was a wasp sting. 1/2 an inch from my left eye I was stung. It itched for about an hour or so constantly. Then the swelling above and below my eye began after an hour or so. I was stung around 2:30 pm. By 10pm the entire side of my right face was swelling. By 9am when I woke up, my eye was so swollen it shut. After about 24 hours it started getting better. Yesterday, working in the yard, SAME THING! This time my left eye? I took pictures every few hours of it. It was offensive to look at my face. Benadryl and ice helped.

Comment from: bam312bam, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: September 11

I was at the pool area and a nest of wasps had been built under the door gate. The wasps can after me and stung me in the arm by my elbow. My neighbor told me to made a paste of meat tenderizer and pat it on and let dry. It immediately took the sting and burning away. Today it is still swollen and red hot, so am using cortisone cream and ice.

Comment from: first time, 45-54 Female Published: June 25

I am 51 years of age and today was my first wasp sting. It was on my right hand. It was very instant the pain and swelling. I didn't know what to do to stop the pain, so I ran my hand under cold water. It relieves some of the intense heat I feel but the stinger is there yet. I can see the stinger in my hand and I am unable to get it out. The wasps are hiding in the water hose roll-up box.

QUESTION

Allergies can best be described as: See Answer
Comment from: jane, 45-54 Female Published: June 18

I was in the garden and a wasp must have flown up my trouser leg without me knowing. I sure knew it was there when it stung me! Hurt all over my thigh, not just on sting area. I quickly grabbed my tube of Aloe Vera Jelly and smothered the area with it, pain was gone in minutes. This also works for other stings and minor burns.

Comment from: Samanthika, 35-44 Female Published: January 13

I had stepped on a bee and was stung. I didn't realize until it started hurting. Immediately I picked the stinger out and rubbed pure turmeric powder on it. The pain has subsided in a minute. Turmeric is a well-known and trusted antiseptic for ages in India.

Comment from: 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: October 24

I was stung seven times by wasps when I disturbed their ground nest. I immediately ran into my shop, closed the door, and brushed a couple out of my hair and off my clothes. Then into the house and my wife mixed up a baking soda and water paste and applied to each of the stings to pull the venom out. When the paste dried up and flaked off she put it on again. When that dried the stinging was gone and the swelling was controlled by cold packs and the itching by hydrocortisone cream. After three days the itching and swelling are almost gone.

Comment from: MrsAU, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: October 13

Our daughter was stung yesterday afternoon by a wasp through her jeans. We applied vinegar which neutralized the swelling but today, she still has sharp pain in her entire lower leg.

Comment from: 55-64 Female Published: October 12

I was at work, working the drive-thru window when I got stung, not once, not twice but three times by a hornet. I immediately went to flush away as much of the venom under running water but the damage was already done. My hand was discoloring and swelling. I tried to nurse it myself for the first day but ended up going to my local drug store and talk to the pharmacist who suggested Benadryl. The next day the redness was still spreading and the swelling was continuing to enlarge. I got in with my doctor that day and was put on antibiotics. Straight from that day up until Friday I was so sick. I worked my full shift Friday but couldn't complete my Saturday shift. I went to emergency only to be given yet another antibiotic and given treatment for my respiratory as my oxygen level was low and I was wheezing. I was finally diagnosed with infection to one side of my lung.

Comment from: Babs, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: September 06

I got stung on my arm by a bee yesterday, used ice to hold down the swelling. I started taking ibuprofen, but now I have a large red ring and it itches badly today.

Comment from: jenny, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: September 02

I used alcohol on a cotton ball an applied it with pressure to the sting, and the swelling reduced immediately.

Comment from: winelover, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: August 23

I was stung yesterday on the inside of my lip, by a wasp, who was obviously sharing my glass of wine! Used tissues heavily soaked in vinegar on inside and outside of mouth. Two hours later looked like a very bad Botox job, but the pain was bearable.

Comment from: patti, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: August 09

I just got stung on my tongue by a wasp that was on the open cheese sandwich I was eating. I grabbed the vinegar bottle and poured some on my tongue and then again a few minutes later. It has swelled up a lot but the pain wasn't too bad.

Comment from: 7-12 Female (Caregiver) Published: August 09

My daughter got stung two times in one place on her belly and we put ice on it and then in the morning it has a blister on it.

Comment from: Louie09, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: July 19

Ice, Benedryl and hydrocotisone cream helps to relieve the pain.

Comment from: dragonlady, 55-64 Female (Caregiver) Published: July 19

Hydrogen peroxide followed by ice relieves pain.

Comment from: nana, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: July 18

I immediately diluted household ammonia and swabbed the stings (6 of them over the body). I then kept ice applied 10 min. on, 10 min off through the night, also using the ammonia. I took Benadryl and a pain pill. The pain stayed through the night and into the next day. I continued to take the Benadryl and ice applications for a couple more days. The ice seemed to keep the pain down to tolerable. after a couple of days, I was told to put on hydrocortizone ointment. The rash and sting center is still itchy and looking like hives after one week since the stings. The welts are 3-4".

Comment from: 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: July 28

Ice on the local site, Benadryl and Advil for the pain for 6 paper wasp stings within a five minute period. Swelling and pain persisted for approx 5 hours, with each site showing a diameter of 2-4 inches of redness.

CONTINUE SCROLLING FOR RELATED SLIDESHOW

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors