Stings caused by insects often result in allergic reactions due to the venom injected into the skin. When you are stung by any of these insects, your body may react, just like the skin will respond to any external stimulus. Most people fear insect stings more than the actual resultant allergy. The natural remedies for insect sting allergies you will read in this post will help you deal effectively with your allergic reactions whenever you suffer from stings by any of these insects.
Table of Contents
You will learn the following from this post:
What are Stinging Insects?
Stinging insects you can find in the United States include fire ants, wasps, hornets, yellow jackets, and honeybees. Even though not everyone is allergic to the venom from insects, there may still be reactions to the skin; such reactions include redness, swelling, and mild pain.
Types of Insect Sting Reactions
Reactions from most insect stings are not allergic; they often result in redness, swelling, itching, and pain on the spot of the sting. In some cases, the swelling might be extended, but it is not often something dire. For these kinds of reactions, you may need only local treatments. You may need to disinfect the area, apply ice to it, and keep it clean all the time. Sometimes you might apply corticosteroid creams to reduce inflammation. In addition, the use of antihistamines can be effective in controlling itching.
The allergic response to insect sting usually involves a systemic reaction. This kind of reaction occurs in people that have developed antibodies against the venom of an insect from initial exposure. Research has revealed that between 0.3% and 3% of insect stings trigger a systemic allergic reaction.
You can reduce all these reactions with natural remedies for insect sting allergies.
Symptoms of Insect Sting Allergies
Allergic reaction from insect sting is not the same with everyone; it varies from person to person. However, a common reaction is that one that is confined to the sting site alone. You can easily disinfect that area by washing it with soap and water; then, you can apply ice to reduce the swelling that the sting may cause.
A more significant reaction may result in swelling that goes beyond the sting site. For instance, a sting on the foot may result in the entire leg swelling. Even though it might look severe and alarming, you can treat this condition in the same manner as a normal reaction. However, a reaction that is unbearably painful or very large may require immediate medical attention.
Wasps, yellow jackets, and fire ants can sting repeatedly. Honeybees, however, have barbed stingers they leave behind on the skins of their victims. The best way to remove these stingers is by a scraping method instead of a pulling motion; otherwise, you may squeeze more venom into the skin the struggle to pull out the stinger.
About everyone stung by fire ants develops a lump or an itchy, localized hive around the sting site, but the swelling usually goes down within an hour – and a small blister can thereafter appear within four hours. The blister often seems to be filled with pus-like liquid within 24 hours. You don’t need to panic if this blister occurs; it is simply a dead tissue, and it is rarely infected unless you tear it open. The lesions may leave a scar when healed. The treatment for fire ant stings is to prevent secondary bacterial infection, which can happen if you break or scratch the pustule. Do not break the blister to avoid further infection.
The allergic reaction is more severe to an insect sting than a nonallergic one. Most times, the allergic reaction demands immediate medical care.
Symptoms of an allergic reaction to insect sting may include one or more of the following:
- Swelling of the throat or tongue, hoarse voice, or difficulty swallowing
- Swelling, itching, hives in the areas besides the site of the sting
- Breathing difficulty and tightness in the chest
- Diarrhea, intense nausea, vomiting, or abdominal cramping
Further insect sting allergy symptoms include the following:
- Anaphylaxis, a life-threatening reaction that prevents normal breathing and may cause the body to go into shock
Anaphylaxis, or a more serious allergic reaction, may occur within minutes after the sting. If this happens, you may require a dose of epinephrine and immediate medical attention. Symptoms of this may include the following:
- Cardiac arrest or loss of consciousness
- Sharp drop in blood pressure or dizziness
Those who have had severe reactions to insect stings should try as much as possible to avoid getting stung again. They have a 60% chance of experiencing the same reaction (or even worse) if attacked by insects again, and the natural remedies for insect sting allergies may not work effectively on them.
Avoiding Insect Stings
Allergists recommend the following precautions to avoid getting stung by insects, especially whenever you are outdoor:
- Keep your prescribed drugs within reach at all times, and follow the instructions on the medication usage whenever you are stung. The drugs are for an emergency while on the way to the hospital.
- Do not walk barefoot or wear sandals on the grass. Bumblebees and honeybees often forage on white clover, which is a weed that sprouts in lawns.
- Ensure that the screens of your door and window are in good repair. Anytime you are driving along insect-infested areas, keep your windows closed.
- Do not swat at a flying insect. If you need to get rid of it, gently brush it aside, or you can wait for it to leave. Swatting will only make it mad.
- Do your gardening and every yard work with caution. To prevent stings on hands and feet, wear socks and shoes, including work gloves.
- Avoid drinking from open beverage cans because sweet beverages attract stinging insects and may crawl inside an open can.
- Bright-colored clothes attract stinging insects; avoid wearing them.
- Always keep your food covered whenever you are eating outdoors.
- Avoid sweet-smelling deodorants, colognes, hair sprays, and perfumes.
- If you need to store garbage cans outside, you should cover them with tight-fitting lids.
You should consult your allergist if you have had an allergic reaction to an insect sting.
7 Natural Remedies for Insect Sting Allergies
You can treat most bee stings at home, except you are experiencing a sign of severe allergic reaction. The following natural remedies for insect sting allergies:
Honey may help with itching, pain, and wound healing. To use honey to treat bee stings, apply a small amount of the honey to the part affected. Then, cover the spot with a loose bandage and allow it to remain there for about an hour.
2. Baking Soda
Mixing baking soda with water will form a paste; this paste will help neutralize the venom from an insect bite. In addition, the paste will reduce swelling, itching, and pain. Apply a thick layer of baking paste to the area affected. Cover with a bandage and allow it to remain that way for at least 15 minutes.
3. Apple Cider Vinegar
Many people believe that vinegar can neutralize the venom from an insect sting, and their beliefs are correct. You can try it yourself if you suffer from an insect sting. Soak the sting spot in a basin of diluted apple cider vinegar for at least 15 minutes. You will feel relieved afterward. You can also follow another process by soaking a cloth or bandage in the diluted vinegar and then gently applying it to the sting site. You can do this as many times as possible until you do not feel the pain anymore.
The efficacy of toothpaste in relieving insect sting allergies is privileged information because many people do not know about this excellent remedy. The reason it relieves insect sting allergies is pretty simple; the alkaline in toothpaste neutralizes the acidity insect venoms contain. However, it would help if you understood that toothpaste might not work on wasp venom. So if you suffer an allergic reaction from any other insect sting, toothpaste may be an easy home remedy you can try. Dab a bit of the toothpaste on the affected area. It does not only relieve pain it also reduces swelling.
5. Meat Tenderizer
If you know what a meat tenderizer is, you may know how effective it can be against insect sting allergies. There is an enzyme called papain you can find in a meat tenderizer. This enzyme can help break down the protein in the sting site that causes itching and pain. To treat insect stings using a meat tenderizer, make a solution of one-part tenderizer and four-part water. Apply the solution to the sting and leave it there for up to thirty minutes. You will begin to feel the relieving effect after thirty minutes.
6. Wet Aspirin Tablet
Wet aspirin tablet is one of the most popular natural remedies for insect sting allergies; even as popular as it is, many people still do not know how effective it is. It is effective for reducing swelling and pain from a bee sting. Apply aspirin paste or wet aspirin to the site of the sting. However, the effectiveness of wet aspirin tablets varies from person to person. In some people, the topical application of aspirin to insect sting may worsen the condition by increasing redness and swelling. If a wet aspirin tablet does not work for you, quit using it immediately.
7. Herbs and Oils
These herbs contain wound-healing properties which may help in relieving the symptoms of insect sting allergies:
- Aloe vera contains properties that help in relieving pain and soothing the skin. If you have an aloe vera plant in your garden, break a leaf and gently squeeze the gel onto the sting area. You will begin to feel better after some minutes.
- Calendula cream is effective in easing skin irritation and healing minor wounds due to its antiseptic property. Apply calendula cream on the sting site and cover it with a bandage.
- Lavender essential oil contains anti-inflammatory properties that can help relieve swelling caused by an insect sting. First, dilute the lavender essential oil with an adequate amount of carrier oil (olive oil or coconut oil), then dab a few drops of the mixture on the area affected.
- Tea tree oil is effective in relieving insect sting allergies due to its antiseptic property. Mix the tea tree oil with an adequate carrier oil and apply a drop to the affected site.
- Witch hazel is an excellent natural and home remedy for bee stings and insect bites. It contains properties that can help reduce itching, pain, and inflammation. However, you have to apply witch hazel directly to the sting site.
Traditional Treatments for Insect Stings
You can treat insect stings traditionally with a cold compress or ice to reduce swelling and pain. You can also make use of anti-inflammatories like Advil or Motrin. Calamine lotion or hydrocortisone cream can help in relieving redness and swelling. In the case of severe swelling and itching, you can take an oral antihistamine like Benadryl.
Do not scratch the sting site if you want to reduce your risk of infection. Scratching will only increase redness, swelling, and itching. If you know that you have suffered from anaphylactic shock in the past due to insect stings, then you may need to carry an EpiPen with you all the time. EpiPen may help prevent severe, life-threatening allergic reactions whenever you suffer another insect sting attack.
Insect stings can be pretty painful; it does not matter whether you are allergic to the sting or not. If an insect stings you, do not panic; remain calm. You may be fine after the attack.
Insect sting allergies can happen anytime in your life, even if you have been stung before and did not develop any allergic reaction. Always take note of your symptoms whenever you suffer from insect stings, and consider the natural remedies for insect sting allergies that work for you.