Bees, hornets, yellow jackets, and wasps. It’s easy to get these creatures confused in the brief desperate moment of getting stung. One may hurt more than the other, but without reference, who could possibly know the difference? Once you learn those differences, you may be able to figure it out the moment that stinging sensation hits. While some are considered among the most painful stings known to humans, the others are easily brushed off.
Knowing the Difference Between these Painful Stings
The minor stings (Yellowjackets and honey bees)
If you are stung by a yellow and black flying insect, chances are it was a yellow jacket or a standard honey bee. While normal bee stings are rather painful, you won’t be rolling on the ground in agony. In fact, it usually feels like a quick prick of a needle. Nothing too extreme.
Afterward, you’ll see a red or white bump immediately start to raise on your skin. In many cases, the stinger will still be stuck in your skin, so make sure you remove the stinger with tweezers and be careful not to squeeze the remaining venom into your skin.
Surviving this venomous animal is not an issue. The venom itself is acidic, but rather harmless—unless, of course, you’re allergic… that’s an entirely different story.
Treatment for this kind of sting
If you are allergic, you probably already have an epinephrine pen with you. Do with your EpiPen as your doctor advises you and seek medical attention just to be safe. In fact, if you aren’t sure if you’re allergic to bees or not and start experiencing the following symptoms, you should seek medical attention right away:
- Difficulty breathing
- Intense hives
- Swollen tongue
If you are NOT allergic to bees, go about removing the stinger as directed with tweezers, being careful not to inject the venom (if you are not allergic, this will only irritate the skin even more and cause a burning sensation).
A good way to treat the burning sensation of the sting and let down a little bit of the swelling is to apply baking soda. Just add baking soda to a little bit of water to form a sort of paste, then start applying it thickly to the sting.
Hornets and wasps
Unlike bees and yellow jackets, hornets and wasps don’t leave their stingers behind. In fact, they can sting you as much as they want, which is terrible, since they have the most painful stings of the bunch. That’s your number one indicator on what stung you: the pain.
On the Schmidt-pain index, wasps and hornets rank a little bit higher than a standard honey bee. That’s because their venom is a bit more tenacious than bees. The venom is considered to a be a pretty powerful alkaline venom, as opposed to the acidic honey bee venom.
Treatment for this kind of sting
Alkaline is too acidic what vinegar is to baking soda. When treating wasp venom, try pouring a small amount of vinegar on the sting. Then, get a cloth or bandage and cover it for about 15 minutes or so. The pain should eventually subside.
Remember that identifying the type of sting is important in treating it. Wasps and hornets are typically more painful and aggressive. Not only does the temperament of the creature vary from docile and protective to aggressive and predatory, their appearance varies a bit too.
Typical bees are shorter, rounder and furry. Wasps and hornets, although slightly different in size as well, are skinnier and smoother. Wasps look more like larger ants than they do bees.
Take Your Sting to Las Vegas Urgent Care
At Las Vegas Urgent Care, we’re all about educating everyone on how to properly take care of accidents when they happen. Here are some first aid tips to help get you through a troublesome situation. For everything else, schedule an appointment with us today.