Mild to moderate reactions
You can treat mild and moderate reactions to wasp stings at home. Wash the sting area with soap and water to remove as much of the venom as possible. Apply a cold pack to the wound site to reduce swelling and pain. Keep the wound clean and dry to prevent infection. Cover with a bandage if desired.
Use hydrocortisone cream or calamine lotion if itching or skin irritation becomes bothersome. Baking soda and colloidal oatmeal are soothing to the skin, and can be used in the bath or through medicated skin creams.
Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen, can manage pain associated with wasp stings. Antihistamine drugs, including diphenhydramine and chlorpheniramine, can reduce itching as well. Take all medications as directed to avoid potential side effects, such as stomach irritation or drowsiness.
Severe allergic reactions to wasp stings require immediate medical attention. If you have an Epi-Pen, administer it as soon as symptoms begin. If you have a history of wasp allergies, administer the Epi-Pen as soon as you are stung. Then call 911.
Treatment for severe allergic reactions to wasp stings can include:
additional epinephrine to calm your immune system
cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) if breathing has temporarily stopped
oxygen, steroids, or other medications to improve breathing
Complications of wasp stings
In rare cases, wasp stings can contribute to complications involving the nervous system.
A report published in the Annals of Tropical Medicine and Public Health examined unusual cases in which a pediatric patient experienced muscle weakness, pupil dilation, and motor aphasia following a wasp sting. (Motor aphasia is the impairment of speech and writing abilities.)
The patient’s problems were precipitated by a blood clot that was caused by a severe reaction to a wasp sting. These particular complications are extreme and highly unlikely to occur.