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Poisoning by a sting from a wasp.

Poisonous Ingredient

  • Ingredient(s) in the venom injected into the victim via the sting.

Where Found

  • wasps
Note: This list may not be all inclusive.


  • body as a whole
    • collapse
    • swelling of the face and lips
  • respiratory
    • difficulty breathing
  • eyes, ears, nose, and throat
    • swelling of throat
  • skin
    • swelling at site of injection
    • itching
  • heart and blood vessels
    • severe decrease in blood pressure

Home Treatment

The best treatment is prevention where possible.

For those who have an allergy to bee, wasp, or yellow jacket stings, it is important to carry a bee sting kit (which requires a prescription) and become familiar with how to use it if necessary.

Remove the stinger if still present by scraping a blunt object across the stinger. Do not use tweezers, these may squeeze the venom sac and increase the amount of venom released.

Place ice (wrapped in a washcloth or other suitable covering) on the site of the sting for 10 minutes and then off for 10 minutes. Repeat this process. If patient has circulatory problems, decrease the time to prevent possible damage to the skin.

After a sting, call Poison Control or a hospital emergency room for guidance if the person has an allergic reaction (severe swelling; difficulty breathing) to the insect. It may be necessary to go to the hospital if the reaction is severe.

Before Calling Emergency

Determine the following information:
  • the patient's age, weight, and condition
  • the name of the insect
  • the time of the sting
  • the area on the body stung

Poison Control, or a local emergency number

They will instruct you if it is necessary to take the patient to the hospital. See Poison Control centers for telephone numbers and addresses.

If possible, bring the insect to the emergency room for identification.

What to expect at the emergency room

Some or all of the following procedures may be performed:
  • Administer medications orally or by injection.
  • Establish and maintain airway if needed.
  • Treat the symptoms.

Expectations (prognosis)

If an allergic reaction occurs, death may occur within 1 hour. The sooner appropriate treatment is begun, the more likely a positive outcome. In non-allergic patients symptoms are likely to resolve completely within a week.

Update Date: 2/23/2004

Cherlin Johnson, M.D., Department of Emergency Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.

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Last updated: Tue, 06 Jan 2009 00:20:03 GMT