Wasps are winged insects that can cause pain and discomfort if they sting a person. Wasp stings are quite common and usually the effects are self-limiting and not dangerous. In summer months, when people spend more time out of home, incident of wasp stings increases.
What Are The Effects Of Wasp Stings?
Generally, wasp stings are a little painful but essentially harmless. However, some people can have severe allergic reactions which can lead to serious, even life-threatening reaction.
1 – Normal Reaction:This is most common. When stung by a wasp, a person may feel itching and mild pain. The region that is stung becomes red and slightly swollen, with a tiny white area in the center where the stinger entered the skin. This reaction settles on its own in a few hours; applying cold compresses can hasten the recovery.
2 – Large Local Reactions:This occurs in about 10% of people stung by a wasp. Such individuals have severer redness, swelling and itching. The swelling may continue to increase for a day or two. These people experience worse pain and the area that is affected by wasp sting symptoms is also large. For example, a sting on one finger may cause swelling and redness of the entire hand. The reason is that these individuals are allergic to wasp sting and hence show worse reaction, even though this reaction is not life-threatening.These symptoms also settle on their own, although they might take 5-7 days to do so. Over-the-counter pain killers and cold compresses can help ease the pain and discomfort.
3 – The third type of reaction, and the one that is most dangerous, is an anaphylactic reaction. This is a severe form of allergy that causes rapid appearance of symptoms and can even cause death. The symptoms include severe swelling of hands, face and lips. There may be GIT symptoms like nausea, diarrhea, abdominal pain and cramps. There is feeling of dizziness and the person may complain of breathing difficulties. Heart rate can become faster while pulse weakens. Ultimately, if the reaction is severe enough and not treated in time, it can cause loss of consciousness and respiratory failure; in rare cases even leading to death. However, luckily incidence of such a severe anaphylactic reaction is very less.People who have anaphylactic reaction once are liable to have it again after another wasp sting, and therefore must carry epinephrine syringes with them when heading out, to inject themselves in case of a wasp sting.
CONCLUSION: Wasp stings are common and mostly only cause mild discomfort and pain. However, you may be seriously allergic to such a sting, in which case you should see your healthcare practitioner immediately if stung.