The sting of the red wasp is its most effective weapon against anything or anyone–in this case, perhaps you–that disturbs its nest. Red wasp stings generally lead to nothing more than a temporary welt that's painful, inflamed and itchy. Most of the things you need to treat red wasp stings, as well as stings from other irascible insects, such as bees, hornets and yellow jackets, can be found in your home.
About Red Wasps
Red wasps, also known as paper wasps, make their nests under the eaves of your house or in or on other structures, as well as plants and trees. According to Texas A&M's Department of Entomology, only female red wasps can hurt you, as male wasps lack a stinger. The female red wasp can sting you repeatedly when she feels her home turf is threatened. If the wasp's nest is in a place where you and your family frequently traffic, dislodge it using a high-pressure water hose. Clear the area and stand at a fair distance so wasps won't commence a retaliatory strike against you or other passers-by.
Removing the Stinger
If you've been stung by a red wasp, your first order of business is to quickly remove the stinger so it doesn't continue to release venom–the substance that causes your skin to swell and redden. You can do this in one of several ways. The National Institutes of Health suggests using a blunt object such as a butter knife and scraping it over the sting carefully. Alternately, use tweezers or your fingertips to remove the stinger. Be careful not to break or put pressure on the venom sac at the end of the stinger, cautions the NIH; you could accidentally express more wasp venom into your skin.
After the wasp stinger has been removed, wash the stung area of skin well with soap and water. The sting will no doubt smart. To relieve swelling, use a cold compress, such as ice wrapped in a towel or washcloth, and apply it to your skin. The Florida Agency for Health Care Administration suggests putting the compress on the skin for 10 minutes, then removing it for 10 minutes, repeating the process as needed. If you or the person you're treating has problems with circulation, apply the compress for shorter durations.
Other Ways to Decrease Discomfort
A simple home remedy for insect stings suggest by MayoClinic.Com is mixing up 3 teaspoons baking soda to 1 teaspoon water and smearing the paste on the bite several times a day. You may also head to your nearest drugstore to pick up 0.5 or 1 percent hydrocortisone cream or calamine lotion to assuage itching and pain. MayoClinic.com also suggests taking an oral nonprescription antihistamine that contains diphenhydramine or chlorpheniramine maleate.
One or two people out of every 1,000 have life-threatening allergic reactions to insect stings, according to the University of California Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program. You may notice symptoms of wasp sting hypersensitivity immediately after being stung or up to 30 minutes later. Hives, nausea and vomiting, abdominal pain and headache may signal sting hypersensitivity. More dire symptoms of anaphylaxis–the most severe type of allergic response–include shock, dizziness, difficulty breathing and a swollen throat. If you notice these symptoms, do not try to treat yourself. Call 9-1-1 to receive emergency care.
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Lisa Sefcik has been writing professionally since 1987. Her subject matter includes pet care, travel, consumer reviews, classical music and entertainment. She's worked as a policy analyst, news reporter and freelance writer/columnist for Cox Publications and numerous national print publications. Sefcik holds a paralegal certification as well as degrees in journalism and piano performance from the University of Texas at Austin.