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Dealing with yellow jacket stings

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A yellow jacket is a thin wasp with black and yellow coloring with dark long wings. Yellow jackets live in nests usually in secluded areas or on the ground. Most usually sting as self-defense. A sting can be quite very painful and one can develop serious and dangerous reactions to the venom. In addition, yellow jackets can sting several times.

Symptoms of a yellow jacket sting

  • Swelling of the affected area
  • Tenderness and redness around the area
  • Coughing or wheezing
  • Vomiting or diarrhea
  • Issues with breathing or swallowing or tightness of the throat
  • Development of hives
  • Lightheadedness or dizziness or passing out

    Issues with breathing or swallowing or tightness of the throat.


  • First thing to do is clean the affected area using soap and water and use either alcohol on to the area.
  • Yellow jackets do not generally leave a stinger behind, but in case one is present, remove the stinger using a material with a straight edge. Avoid squeezing the area to get the stinger out to prevent releasing more venom into the system and worsen the condition.
  • Fill a bowl with cold water and add some ice cubes. Soak a clean cloth in the water, wring out excess and apply it directly on the affected area and leave it on for at least 10 minutes. Repeat the procedure 2-3 times during the first 24 hours after the injury to lessen the inflammation and the pain.
  • Dab ammonia on the affected area to lessen the itchiness. It will stop the stinging sensation and lessen the pain and the itching.
  • Take the prescribed over-the-counter antihistamine to lessen the symptoms.
  • Mix baking soda with a few drops of water until it becomes a paste and apply on the affected area to neutralize the venom.
  • Soak a cotton ball on vinegar and apply on the affected area to lessen the itchiness.


  • When eating outdoors, cover food immediately to keep away any lurking yellow jackets and throw away the trash.
  • Avoid swatting at yellow jackets to prevent making them more aggressive
  • Keep trash cans covered all the time.
  • Avoid scratching the sting site to prevent introduction of bacteria into the skin and result to an infection.

Disclaimer / More Information

The material posted on this page on yellow jacket stings is for learning purposes only. Learn to recognize and manage insect stings by taking a first aid and CPR class with one of our training providers.

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