With the start of summer comes the appearance of common stinging
insects, such as bees, wasps, hornets and yellowjackets, and the
various related health risks that range from irritating but relatively
harmless stings to the threat of serious allergic reaction. The National
Pest Management Association (NPMA) stresses that when it comes to
stinging insects, the best way to avoid the associated health risks is
to practice simple prevention and treatment tips.
"It's important to understand what we can do to mitigate the health
problems these stinging insects present," said Dr.
Jorge Parada, medical spokesperson for the NPMA. "For most people,
painful stings typically result in swelling and local soreness, but 3
percent of the population experience more widespread allergic reactions,
like rashes and hives, and extreme cases can result in life threatening
symptoms like shortness of breath."
Stinging insects are beneficial in that they pollinate plants and
flowers and eat other harmful pests, but they also dole out painful
stings and cause people anxiety about being stung. While in reality,
bees and yellowjackets rarely sting unless provoked, more aggressive
species like wasps can sting in painful attacks if they feel threatened.
The NPMA offers the following tips when dealing with stinging insects:
If one lands on your skin, resist the urge to swat and instead gently
blow on it from a distance.
If stung, remove the stinger, clean the area with soap and cold water
and apply ice. Benadryl and hydrocortisone ointment may also help calm
Should you experience symptoms of an allergic reaction, such as tongue
and throat swelling, wheezing, dizziness, shortness of breath or drop
in blood pressure, call 911.
If allergic to stinging insects, learn how to use an epinephrine kit
and carry it with you at all times.
If you suspect an infestation or notice a hive or nest on your
a licensed pest professional to safely remove the threat.
National Pest Management Association