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Advice about stings

From a Master Gardener column in the Newark (OH) Advocate: Here's a good comparison of the different reactions a person might experience after a wasp, hornet or yellowjacket sting, and what to do in each situation:

  • Normal reaction: Lasts a few hours. Sting site is painful, reddened, might swell and itch, but will quickly dissipate. For local reactions, your pharmacist can recommend reliable, over-the-counter remedies.
  • Large local reaction: Lasts for days. Sting site is more painful, swelling and itching may be present both at the sting site and in surrounding areas. For a large local reaction, you might want to consult your doctor, local emergency room or urgent care site.
  • Severe allergic reaction: Can commence rapidly (in a few minutes) after the sting occurs. The person might feel dizzy, nauseated and weak. The person might feel stomach cramps and diarrhea, or might have itching around the eyes, a warm feeling or coughing, hives breaking out, followed with vomiting and swelling. He or she might experience wheezing, difficult breathing (shortness of breath) or swallowing, hoarse speech, drop in blood pressure, and shock. Reactions can occur in a few minutes with most deaths within 30 minutes, but some within 15 minutes and some in five minutes or less. FOR A SEVERE ALLERGIC REACTION, CALL 911 IMMEDIATELY!

Many county fairs and other outdoor events take place in September, when colonies are starting to peter out and wasps, hornets and yellowjackets are desperate for sustenance in the form of sweet liquids. Here are some hints from another Ohio paper, the Morgan County Herald, on how you can stay out of harm's way:

  • Keep garbage cans emptied and clean as often as reasonable.
  • Be careful when eating or drinking at these events. Be sure an unwanted guest has not gotten into or on the food and drink being consumed outdoors.
  • Avoid drinking out of a can where one cannot see into the container. Use a straw or open topped container. A mouthful of wasp is no fun.
  • Avoid wearing floral scented perfumes and immediately wash off spilled fruit drinks because the wasps are attracted to floral and fruit scents.
  • Wear plain, light colored clothing.
  • Don’t panic if you see a wasp. Simply walk away, even if it lands on your clothing – it will soon fly away when it finds that you are not really food!

September 2, 2008 in Helpful resources, Hornets, Wasps, Yellowjackets | Permalink


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Thank you guys! The RESCUE! traps have been working wonders. I am having an exterminator come later this week, but your traps have been the only thing that have made our deck's bearable. We just moved in, and want to spend time out there, but just can't because of all of the yellow jackets!

Posted by: adriana | Sep 2, 2008 3:01:17 PM

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