Sun poisoning

Stinging plants: How to deal with a sting

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It is difficult to determine if certain stinging plants are dangerous or not. If an individual has been stung by one of these stinging plants, it is vital that you are prepared to provide the suitable first aid measures.

Remember that being stung by stinging plants might trigger a severe allergic reaction in some individuals. With this in mind, you have to be prepared with what to do.

Stinging plants

Stinging nettles

The nettle plants usually reach up to 1 meter in height and have tiny hairs on the leaves and stem. If these are touched, they can cause a nasty sting and rash. Essentially, the nettle stings could not cause lasting issues unless the individual is allergic.

Stinging plants
The nettle plants usually reach up to 1 meter in height and have tiny hairs on the leaves and stem. If these are touched, they can cause a nasty sting and rash.

The rash can be painful for a few hours after being stung. Medical care is not usually needed unless there is an extensive nettle sting.


A Gympie-Gympie is one of the 4 species of stinging trees found in Australia. A sting from this plant is delivered via small-sized silicon hairs that cover its leaves and fruits. These silicon hairs are capable of penetrating the skin and then break off. Since they are so tiny, the skin often closes over the hairs. Oftentimes, once an individual has been stung, the stinging hairs could not be removed.

These stinging plants deliver a sting similar to a wasp. This results to whitening and swelling at the site.


If an individual has been stung by this plant, the following must be observed:

  • Avoid rubbing the area since this can break off the hairs and make them hard to remove
  • Any visible hairs should be removed with tweezers
  • Apply an adhesive tape or wax strip for hair removal to get rid of the smaller hairs
  • Avoid scratching or rubbing the area since this can cause the hairs to pierce deeper into the skin.

Anaphylactic shock from stinging plants

Occasionally, some might end up with a severe allergic reaction after stung by stinging plants. During this reaction, the entire body reacts within minutes after a sting. This is a serious reaction that can be fatal.

The indications of an anaphylactic shock can include the following:

  • Difficulty breathing, shortness of breath or wheezing
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Swelling of the mouth, throat or tongue
  • Difficulty talking
  • Flushing
  • Rash that manifests on any part of the body
  • Itchiness usually around the ears, eyes, lips, throat or roof of the mouth
  • Stomach cramps
  • Collapse or loss of consciousness

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