Yellow jacket stings

Treatment for Yellow Jacket Stings

When a yellow jacket stings you, its stinger pierces your skin and injects a venom that causes sudden and often extreme pain. You may also develop redness and swelling around the site of the sting a few hours later.

Unlike a bee sting, a yellow jacket will not leave its stinger behind once you’ve been stung. As such, you won’t need to pull out the stinger as you might with a bee.1

If you’ve been stung and are experiencing pain without other symptoms, you can treat the injury by following these steps:

  1. Wash the sting site with soap and water.
  2. Apply a cold pack to the sting to reduce the pain. To avoid damaging your skin from the cold, place a cloth barrier between your skin and the ice pack. Keep the pack moving, and avoid icing the skin for more than 20 minutes.
  3. Apply a topical antihistamine or calamine lotion to the skin.
  4. If needed, take an over-the-counter oral antihistamine like Benadryl (diphenhydramine) to relieve mild itching and swelling. Avoid driving or using heavy machinery as the drug may cause drowsiness.

A number of home remedies can be also found online, including applying baking soda and water, vinegar, or commercial meat tenderizers to the site of a sting. While some people strongly believe in these do-it-yourself remedies, there is no evidence to support their effectiveness. Proceed with caution before trying any of those remedies at home.

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