If you do not like to use chemicals on your body and would like to use a more natural approach, The Natural First Aid Handbook (Storey Publishing, 2017) by Brigitte Mars, is the book for you. Find herbal and homeopathic treatments for common conditions as well as tips to be prepared for emergency situations. This excerpts can be found in chapter 2, “An A-Z Guide to Ailments and Injuries.”
Stings (Bee, Hornet, and Wasp)
Stings can be fatal. If you or someone with you experiences any of the signs of an allergic reaction listed below, seek immediate medical attention!
Seek immediate medical attention if:
- The individual’s tongue swells
- The individual is wheezing or has difficulty breathing
- You observe skin flushing or a sudden-onset rash
- The individual develops a severe cough
- The individual complains of blurred vision
- The individual vomits or -complains of nausea
While you wait for medical attention:
1. Remove the stinger. Being careful not to squeeze the venom sac at the base of the stinger, gently pull out the stinger by dragging the edge of a fingernail or a credit card across the imbedded stinger in the direction opposite from its entry. If this is ineffective, use tweezers. Remove the stinger as quickly as possible, as the venom sac can release poisons for 2 or 3 minutes.
2. If the individual is allergic, inject epinephrine, if available. If (and only if) the individual is allergic, check to see if she is carrying an automatic syringe (such as an EpiPen) that injects epinephrine. Many people who know they are allergic to bee stings carry them. The epinephrine will help dilate the airway and prevent anaphylactic shock.
At-Home First Aid for Stings (Bee, Hornet, and Wasp)
Remove the stinger, clean the wound, and then stop pain and swelling:
- Extraction. Remove the stinger.
- Cleansing. Wash the area with soap and water.
- Find relief. Try any of the remedies listed below.
Some of the simplest topical remedies that relieve pain and swelling can be found right at your feet. They include mud, green clay, and freshly chewed plantain leaf.
Other remedies to reduce pain and swelling are found in your kitchen. Try:
- Meat tenderizer (papain powder). Mix with water into a paste, and paint over the wound with your fingers.
- Baking soda. Mix with vinegar into a thick paste, and plop it on the wound.
- Onion. Cut fresh slices, and lay over the wound.
- Cold milk. Dip a clean cloth in milk, wring out, fold, and apply.
A dropperful of echinacea tincture taken 3 times daily can help reduce swelling. Two drops of lavender essential oil or a moistened tobacco leaf are also effective when applied topically to neutralize the venom.
All homeopathic remedies should be taken internally by dissolving 4 pellets under the tongue.
- Apis is ideal for stings that cause redness, hot and rapid swellings, and pain that is worsened by heat.
- Vespa is for stings from wasps.
Follow-Up Care for Stings (Bee, Hornet, and Wasp)
One thousand to 5,000 mg of vitamin C and 100 mg of pantothenic acid up to 5 times during the day for the first day help provide a natural antihistamine effect, thus reducing swelling. Other supplements to consider:
- Bromelain, an enzyme derived from pineapple, will help relieve swelling. Take one 500-mg capsule 3 times daily for 1 to 2 days.
- Quercetin is a flavonoid with anti-inflammatory properties. Take one 500-mg dose every 4 hours for 1 to 2 days.
Prevention of Stings (Bee, Hornet, and Wasp)
If you’re allergic to bee stings, carry an emergency epinephrine “pen” (EpiPen) at all times. Discuss with your health-care provider if you think you need one.
If you’re attacked by an angry swarm of bees, hornets, or wasps, run into thick bushes or jump into a body of water — if, that is, you can swim!
More from The Natural First Aid Handbook:
Reprinted with Permission from The Natural First Aid Handbook and Published by Storey Publishing.