Management of a yellow jacket sting

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A yellow jacket is known to be aggressive especially among gardeners. If an individual is suspected with a yellow jacket sting, it is vital that you are familiar with the steps to take to deal with the pain and itchiness that arises the next few days.

Immediate care for a yellow jacket sting

It is best to avoid being stung in the first place. Take note that yellow jackets can sting several times.

For large reactions, several stings or has known allergies, the following must be considered:

  • If the individual is allergic to bees, wasps, yellow jackets or hornets, call for emergency assistance right away, especially for multiple stings.
    yellow jacket sting
    For serious reactions and swelling, call for emergency assistance and administer a shot using an auto-injector epinephrine if on hand.
  • For serious reactions and swelling, call for emergency assistance and administer a shot using an auto-injector epinephrine if on hand.
  • Call for emergency assistance if the individual is experiencing shortness of breath, difficulty speaking or swallowing or loses consciousness.

For minor reactions, the following must be done:

  • Cleanse the yellow jacket sting site using water and soap
  • Apply an ice pack or warm compress to alleviate the pain and swelling
  • Dab a topical antihistamine or calamine lotion

Managing an allergic reaction

Some individuals might end up with an allergic reaction to a yellow jacket sting where some develop anaphylaxis.

An allergic reaction can trigger both localized and systemic itchiness and swelling. Since localized swelling can be severe even in minor cases, a yellow jacket sting on the head and neck must be monitored for the possibility of obstructing the airway and disrupting normal breathing.

Itchiness is the main issue of concern for a mild allergic reaction. Treatment is vital a few hours and days after a yellow jacket sting. An antihistamine, specifically diphenhydramine is ideally given to provide relief to the itchiness that can be taken orally or used topically. In addition, hydrocortisone cream or calamine lotion can also provide relief.

Disclaimer / More Information

The information posted on this page on a yellow jacket sting is for learning and educational purposes only. To learn to properly manage a sting, register for first aid training at one of our training centers located throughout Canada. The training centers are in Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver, Kelowna, Saskatoon, Victoria, Surrey, Mississauga, Winnipeg, Red Deer, Toronto, Ottawa and Halifax.

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