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Yellow Jacket Sting Treatment

written by: Jack O. Rella • edited by: Leigh A. Zaykoski • updated: 11/29/2009

The yellow jacket is a species of the wasp genus. Yellow jacket sting treatment mainly involves addressing the venom that is dispersed during a sting.

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    Facts About Yellow Jackets

    Yellow Jacket Yellow jackets, like most wasps, are most active in the warm months of spring and summer. The worker drones of the hives do not live through the winter. Therefore, the greatest chance to be stung by a yellow jacket will be during the warmest days of the year.

    Their common habitats are the nests that they build to lay eggs in. They use the nest only once per season, abandoning it to build a new one the following year. Yellow jackets feed on insects as well as the floral nectar and juices from fruits and other sources.

    These wasps have long barbed stingers that easily penetrate human skin. Unlike bees, their stinger does not break off when it penetrates skin. The venom that is released in a sting is used for killing the insects that they commonly feed on. This venom, although rarely fatal to humans, is potent enough to cause painful inflammation and swelling.

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    Yellow Jacket Sting Treatment

    The venom from a yellow jacket sting is the most harmful aspect. Stopping the spread of the venom is important, so it is recommended to use a tourniquet when possible. It is also best to begin breaking down the venom immediately after a sting has occurred to reduce the inflammation and swelling that can result. One common home remedy is to use a poultice using a meat tenderizer, as this has been found to be effective in neutralizing the venom.

    Pharmaceutical compounds are also effective in yellow jacket sting treatment, especially those that contain antihistamines. These control the inflammation and swelling from a sting and pain relievers such as those with acetaminophen are very effective. Ointments and other topical applications are effective, as are oral doses of these elements.

    Some people develop allergic reactions to yellow jacket stings. These conditions are better addressed by allergy treatment specialists who can run tests to pinpoint the causes of the allergy.

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    Preventing Yellow Jacket Stings

    It is best to avoid areas where fruit, flowers and other botanicals are found during warm months of the year. Long-term storing of these floras should also be avoided. Areas where food waste is disposed, such as garbage cans and trash dumpsters, should be avoided as well. People who frequently visit wooded areas should be alert for nests in trees as well as on the ground, especially in fallen timber and other areas that provide secure habitats for wasp nests.

    People should avoid sudden movements when confronted with wasps, who become aggravated by these movements. Wasps are aggressive by nature and swatting at or trying to kill a wasp will attract several other wasps who are nearby. Yellow jackets can be outrun, but it is best to avoid being in those areas that are infested with wasps to begin with.

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    Resources and Credit

    Ohio State University - Yellow Jackets

    MedicineNet.com - Bee Sting Treatment

    Photo Credit - scubadive67