Remember when my husband ran over the yellow jacket nest with the lawnmower? He was bitten more than 30 times, but he was fortunate in that he only had 3 stings.
The bites were raw, open wounds and many of them were bleeding. They were nothing compared to the stings, though. The stings were swollen and painful, turning red and hot and stinging like crazy. It was easy to tell the difference.
We treated the bites and stings all in the same way, applying a baking soda paste, letting it dry and flake off, then rubbing in a bee sting ointment that contained hydrocortisone. One of the bites got a little red and swelled the next day, so we applied some antibiotic ointment to that one. Other than that, they all healed and went away in a few days.
The only good thing about that experience was that we learned from it.
Oh, and we knew that he wasn’t allergic to the stinging insects.
So… Last Thursday, when Joe came inside and said, “Um, honey? I think I ran over a yellow jacket nest,” I knew exactly what to do.
Step one. I got him in the shower so he could wash off the grass, poison ivy, and associated goo. He looked over himself for stingers, too, but didn’t find any.
Step two. I gave him two Benadryl tablets and an ibuprofen with a glass of water while he was still in the shower. I read somewhere that Benadryl is good for bee stings even if you’re not allergic because it helps with the itching. Ibuprofen helps with the swelling and pain. (And also, my nurse friend told me that he could develop an allergy at any time, so it would be better to be safe than sorry.)
Step three. While he got out of the shower and dried off, I mixed six tablespoons of baking soda with two tablespoons of water to make a thick paste.
Step four. Once he was dried off and had a pair of shorts on, I used a spoon to smear my baking soda paste onto his stings and bites. We didn’t find any bites at all this time, but I counted more than fifty stings. (There were too many stings to count on his right ankle and left elbow, so I couldn’t be sure exactly how many there were. He had stings on his head, neck, arms, and legs – everywhere that wasn’t covered with clothing. He even had one inside his lower lip. It’s a good thing that wasp didn’t get inside his mouth!)
Step five. His ankles were hurting more than the other spots, so I gave him a large ice pack to apply there for twenty minutes.
Step six. The baking soda paste slowly dries and flakes off. When that happened, I rubbed a little of the bee sting ointment with hydrocortisone into the sting sites.
Even with all of this first aid treatment, he told me that the stings hurt on and off for a week. He took ibuprofen when they bothered him the most and tried to keep from scratching them.
And, like the last time, the wasps got the gasoline treatment after dark that night. (I’m not telling you to pour gasoline into your soil, my friends, because that would be dangerous. But, in our case, desperate times call for desperate measures. And we really wanted to get rid of those yellow jackets.)Photo source