Wasp Sting Swelling 36 Hrs Later What To Do?

Lounge By margaretb Updated 17 Aug 2009 , 6:03am by margaretb

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margaretb Posted 11 Aug 2009 , 6:01am
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About noon on Sunday, my 6 year old was stung 3 times by wasps - twice on one finger and once on the belly. Since we were in town and he was screaming in agony, everyone told me to take him to the hospital instead of going home (we live 20 minutes from town). So we went to the hospital, and waited for almost an hour to see the doctor (small town). My poor kid was just suffering -- one of the stings still had some stinger in, and that one continued to hurt. One nurse scolded him for being so upset!!! Anyway, eventually the doctor came and looked at it, and said that yes, there was a piece of stinger in it. He tried getting it out with tweezers, but he couldn't. He said the only way to get it out would be with a scalpel. My son did not want that, so we left. The doctor said there was just a greater risk of infection if the stinger was left in. So first of all, grrrr, I should have just gone home and put some after bite on it and he would have been out of his misery 40 minutes earlier (my mom, who thankfully was with us had gone and found some, and we put it on as soon as the doctor left and it helped). Although I guess if he had gone into anaphylactic shock while we were on the road, that would have been the end of him. ANYWAY - I didn't notice if it was swollen this morning, but after lunch today I saw his finger and it is quite swollen. The sting with the stinger still in was on the side of the joint closest to the tip, and there was another sting on the joint second from the tip, but that one wasn't bothering him as much. The whole finger is swollen and it is also swollen on the joint where the finger is attached to the hand. He was complaining of it being really itchy today, but I got some benadryl anti itch stuff and that took care of it. I gave him some benadryl when we finally got home around 7, which seemed to help some, but I just looked at it (just before midnight) and it is quite swollen again.

So my questions are: how long does swelling normally last for wasp stings? Do we need to go back and have the stinger cut out, or will his body eventually take care of it (he will probably freak out if it has to be cut out)? Is there anything else I can do to treat the sting besides giving him benadryl and applying anti itch lotions to the sting?

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JaimeAnn Posted 11 Aug 2009 , 6:25am
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Ouch! I am sorry your little guy got stung.

If there is a piece of the stinger still in the sting site you will not be able to get it out till the swelling goes down.

Use ice to bring the swelling down rinse with vinegar and apply a thick paste of baking soda to the spot. Once the swelling goes down it should fester itself out or you will be able to remove it with some tweezers. Soaking in Hydrogen peroxide after the swelling has gone down can help it to fester out also.

Wasps don't usually leave behind their stingers so he may have just broken the tip off in his finger by smashing the wasp into it when he got stung.


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Texas_Rose Posted 11 Aug 2009 , 6:38am
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I don't have much experience with my kids and wasp stings...but one of my girls gets serious localized reactions to fire ant stings. Usually if Benadryl doesn't help, the pediatrician will prescribe a three-day course of oral steroids, which seems to help right away.

Benadryl only works for 4 hours and then the symptoms come right back.

You should make an appointment with the pediatrician. Ask if your son's reaction is worse than normal and if it means that future wasp stings could be more dangerous for him, and if the pediatrician would recommend seeing an allergist.

We had to take Valerie to the allergist, and now we keep the steroids on hand and we also have to keep a 2 pack of epi-pens, one for home and one for school (those things cost a ton BTW and they're only good for one year). The reason we had to take her was, the first time she was stung, there were 7 stings and her foot swelled up to the point where she was unable to walk. The next time (almost a year later), she had 3 stings and had the same kind of swelling, so the doc said that meant her reaction to it was increasing and we had to go to the allergist. She's been stung once since then and it was just one ant, and she got all swollen and had to take the steroids. So far we've never had to use the epi-pens, but we still have to keep them around. Apparently if you ever do have to use it, they need emergency medical treatment within 20 minutes. That's why we have the two packs, so that if we had to use it and didn't get her seen within 20 minutes we'd have another injection to give.

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Mensch Posted 11 Aug 2009 , 6:39am
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Wasp stings don't break off in the wound at the time of stinging, like honey bees' do. I was stung on the foot by a wasp on Saturday, and it still itches.

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margaretb Posted 11 Aug 2009 , 7:50am
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I actually didn't see the insects, but someone said they were wasps, which is most likely around here. There definitely was some stinger left in the wound, so I hope the wasp died a horrible painful death. This poor kid has been stung a couple times before, but this was the first multiple sting. I actually have epipens in my fridge because one of my sons got bitten by something when he was one and his eye swelled shut, so I asked if we could get a perscription just in case it turns out that he was really allergic. The pharmacist told me that the epipen only lasts for 15 minutes, and that's why you need two. I got kid ones and adult ones because my husband also has allergies, and he had just gone driving through a field with the neighbour and was having some swelling in his throat (but oh no, he's not going to go in and get the allergy shots). The price was $250 for two epipens, but thankfully our insurance paid 80%. My aunt is an allergist and she told me to just keep them in the fridge and as long as the liquid is clear, you can still use them. Of course, my cousin has two kids with severe allergies and she told me that all the doctors say that but it isn't true. LOL after the field incident, the neighbour came in the house and told me that he had epinephrine in the cupboard in case we ever needed to give a shot of a couple mg, and I was wondering why on earth he thought I would want to give anyone a shot of his cow medicine, and then my husband came in.

I am going to wait another day or two to see how his finger is. If it isn't bothering him, then I won't worry about it too much. If it starts to bother him, then I guess we will go in (we don't have pediatricians here, just GPs, but on the plus side you can usually get a doctor's appointment on the same or next day). I will also email my aunty and ask her about the allergy risk. I think the swelling is because of the stinger. The one on his belly was already going away after an hour, and he said only the one sting on his finger hurt. I'm glad to hear that the stinger should work it's way out. I was getting a little freaked out that it was going to have to be cut out after all.

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margaretb Posted 11 Aug 2009 , 2:56pm
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It's not as swollen this morning, and he thinks it is cool that cold makes the swelling go down so he was using ice on it. Whew.

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Sox-n-Pats Posted 11 Aug 2009 , 5:02pm
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glad he's feeling better. The swelling could also be because it's on his finger. Fingers have a tendancy to swell, since they are just so small to begin with and have so many nerves as such.

On a side note- I've found the best way to get small things out of skin (especially in my children) is with a bath. Yup. A warm bubble bath with epson salt. Bring in toys and let them turn into prunes. That's the trick. I've gotten glass, splinters, pencil tips, stingers... out with a bath. No more tweezers or pastes... It's almost like the the skin turning to prune (raisin... whatever you call shriveled wet skin) pushes the little bugger out.

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Kayakado Posted 11 Aug 2009 , 5:46pm
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Try soaking the sting areas in some warm water and apply baking soda. Or make a poltice with warm water and Adolph's meat tenderizer. Apply the paste to the sting - as it cools and dries it pulls material from the sting hole.

I am not a doctor and can't make any guarantees but I used the adoph's on a puncture wound from a cat bite after two unsuccessful visits to an emergency room. It seemed to do the trick of drawing the infectious materials from the wound.

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ziggytarheel Posted 11 Aug 2009 , 7:54pm
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Originally Posted by Texas_Rose

So far we've never had to use the epi-pens, but we still have to keep them around. Apparently if you ever do have to use it, they need emergency medical treatment within 20 minutes. That's why we have the two packs, so that if we had to use it and didn't get her seen within 20 minutes we'd have another injection to give.

I have used an epipen many times on myself and my daughter also has to keep one on hand. The first time I used one, I went to the ER, but the other 6 times, I stayed home. icon_smile.gif I am not telling you to do that with your own child, but I've figured out how my reaction works and if I use the Epipen quickly enough, I'm okay with just a shot and Histamine one and two blockers. If the reaction is worse, I would go to the ER, but mostly because I know I need cortisteroids after that. I've always asked what the expiration on the pen was before I would buy it. I've been able to sometimes get one that had an expiration later than one year.

I think it is somewhat normal for a sting on the finger to continue to swell in an obvious way, as there is no where for the swelling to spread out to. I think it got worse because of the stinger still being there. When your child feel like it, as previously mentioned, a nice long hot bath with the finger in the water most of the time might well do the trick. icon_smile.gif

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margaretb Posted 11 Aug 2009 , 10:01pm
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He's actually in swimming lessons this week, so maybe it will come out from that! Anyway, it is less swollen and he says it doesn't hurt or itch, so looks like the worst is over.

My cousin with the severly allergic kids was completely vigilant about them, almost to the point of paranoia. However, a couple years ago (I think they were 10 and 12 at the time) she said that she didn't bother bringing the epipens with them anymore, because if they are in town, they can get to emergency in a matter of minutes. It's only when they are home (they also live on a farm) where they would need the extra 15 minutes to get to somewhere where they could be treated. BTW, the paranoia paid off -- the older one actually outgrew his peanut allergy.

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ladyellam Posted 11 Aug 2009 , 10:09pm
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My son is really allergic to bee/wasp stings. He got bit on the side of his face and it swelled 3 times its' normal size. Did anyone ever see the movie with Martin Short when he has an allergic reaction and he looks distorted? That's what my son looked like It took about a week for the swelling to go away.

Instead of using tweezers I just use an old credit card and scrape the stinger out. That way it won't break apart and lots of ice. I also usually give him a double dose of Benadryll (ask your doctor first). We also carry an Epi Pen just in case.

I hope your son feels better.

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indydebi Posted 11 Aug 2009 , 10:54pm
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If stung by a wasp, quickly apply some mud to the sting. The mud cools the wound and draws the sting out. My husband says when he was a kid living in the country, they did this all the time and it really really works.

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Doug Posted 11 Aug 2009 , 10:57pm
post #13 of 18

and our home remedy was:

empty glass soda pop bottle

get really really hot (hottest tap water you have or even boiling water)

put empty hot bottle over sting and press to make an airtight seal.

hold in place until bottle cools (can speed process with a damp cloth (but not cold - might shatter glass)

creates a vacuum that sucks out stinger and the venom (and a little blood too!)


my mom was very good and fast at doing this! -- gee, I wonder why? icon_rolleyes.gif

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Sox-n-Pats Posted 12 Aug 2009 , 5:27am
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we were on an airplane once when my little and he was having massive ear pains. No meds, no one had gum... it was horrendous.

A stewardess took a plastic cup and put a hot wet paper towel in the bottom and we held it over his ears- making a seal on his head with the top of the cup.

It relieved the pressure. She would come back every so often with a new hot towel and switch it out.

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dldbrou Posted 15 Aug 2009 , 2:47am
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Sorry about your son's insect wound, but reading all these remedies brings back memories.
My father use to take tabacco and place it on the insect bite for the swelling.
My MIL would take this black tar type glop and place it on the wound to draw out the stinger.
I would also use meat tenderizer and if that didn't work, I would put my son in a tepid bath and let him play till it would fall out. I was afraid that hot water would make the poison spread.
Always kept Benadryl on hand.

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JodieF Posted 15 Aug 2009 , 3:45am
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I will never forget when I was about 14 and was just at my grandparents. Anyway, I went for a walk, normally swinging my arms. A wasp flew into my hand and stung me. Well, I obviously reacted that that thing went nuts and stung me over and over. I was finally able to fling it to the ground and ran the 4 blocks back to my grandparents. I was crying so hard and couldn't even speak when they asked me what was wrong. All I could do was hold up my hand. I swear it looked like a cartoon! Anyway, they took me right to the ER and it turned out I had 44 stings in my fingers and palm. That was one nasty ticked off wasp!


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costumeczar Posted 16 Aug 2009 , 2:19am
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I once ran over a wasp nest with my bike and got stung all over my hand. It swelled up like an inflated playtex rubber glove! Great for scaring the other kids. It took a long time for the swelling to go down, too...

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margaretb Posted 17 Aug 2009 , 6:03am
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My son told his uncle (my brother) about his triple wasp sting, and my brother said that one time when he was surveying with our dad, he stepped on a wasp nest and was swarmed. That's the first I'd heard of that!

My son's finger is completely back to normal. I'll tell you, stuff like this just makes me so grateful that my kids are healthy. I just feel so awful for the parents whose children deal with chronic illness or need ongoing painful medical treatments.

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