The North West Community Ambulance Service have shared advice from the NHS who are dealing with more wasp stings this year and this weekend is supposedly when they are at their worst.

 

Experts believe that the warmer weather the UK has had at the beginning of this year affected the breeding season. As the hot and humid summer weather has continued, it has meant that flies and wasps have thrived, helping them live longer and breed more.

Most insect bites will improve within a few hours or days and can be treated at home.

First aid for insect bites and stings

To treat an insect bite or sting:

  • Remove the sting if still in the skin.
  • Wash the affected area with soap and water.
  • Apply a cold compress (such as a flannel or cloth cooled with cold water) or an ice pack to any swelling for at least 10 minutes.
  • Raise or elevate the affected area if possible, as this can help reduce swelling.
  • Avoid scratching the area or bursting any blisters, to reduce the risk of infection – if your child has been bitten or stung, it may help to keep their fingernails short and clean.
  • Avoid traditional home remedies, such as vinegar and bicarbonate of soda, as they’re unlikely to help.
  • The pain, swelling and itchiness can sometimes last a few days.

How to removing a sting

  • If you’ve been stung and the sting has been left in your skin, you should remove it as soon as possible to prevent any more venom being released.
  • Scrape it out sideways with something with a hard edge, such as a bank card, or your fingernails if you don’t have anything else to hand.
  • Don’t pinch the sting with your fingers or tweezers because you may spread the venom.

Relieving the symptoms of an insect bite or sting

If you have troublesome symptoms after an insect bite or sting, the following treatments may help:

  • For pain or discomfort – take over-the-counter painkillers, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen (children under 16 years of age shouldn’t be given aspirin).
  • For swelling – try regularly applying a cold compress or ice pack to the affected area, or ask your pharmacist about treatments such as antihistamine tablets.
  • See your GP if these treatments don’t help. They may prescribe stronger medicines such as steroid tablets.

When to get medical advice

Contact your GP or call NHS 111 for advice if:

  • you’re worried about a bite or sting
  • your symptoms don’t start to improve within a few days or are getting worse
  • you’ve been stung or bitten in your mouth or throat, or near your eyes
  • a large area (around 10cm or more patch of skin) around the bite becomes red and swollen – your GP may refer you to an allergy clinic for further tests or treatment (read about treating allergies)
  • you have symptoms of a wound infection, such as pus or increasing pain, swelling or redness – you may need antibiotics
  • you have symptoms of a more widespread infection, such as a fever, swollen glands and other flu-like symptoms

When to get emergency help

Dial 999 for an ambulance immediately if you or someone else has symptoms of a severe reaction, such as:

  • wheezing or difficulty breathing
  • a swollen face, mouth or throat
  • feeling sick or being sick
  • a fast heart rate
  • dizziness or feeling faint
  • difficulty swallowing
  • loss of consciousness
  • Emergency treatment in hospital is needed in these cases.