Stung By a Hornet: What is the Danger of a Sting and How to Provide First Aid

How dangerous is a hornet bite?

For a healthy person, a hornet bite is not dangerous, although it is unpleasant. However, in some cases, such an injury can lead to suffocation, respiratory edema, anaphylactic shock, and death. A bite is dangerous in the following cases:

  • If a person is allergic to insect bites or has asthma;
  • If an insect stung the neck, chest, or face – respiratory edema and suffocation are possible;
  • if several hornets stung at once.

Stung by a hornet: Symptoms

Symptoms of a hornet sting can vary in severity. Mild symptoms include the following:

  • Swelling and redness at the site of the bite;
  • Severe pain that lasts for several days;
  • itching.

In severe cases, symptoms may include:

  • difficulty breathing;
  • dizziness;
  • darkening of the eyes;
  • nausea and vomiting;
  • seizures;
  • fainting;
  • tachycardia;
  • urticaria;
  • anaphylactic shock.

First Aid for a Hornet Bite

Even if you are not allergic to animal bites, first aid is important to minimize the effects of a sting.

  1. Gently pull out the stinger with tweezers if it remains in the wound.
  2. Wipe the sting with hydrogen peroxide or soap and water.
  3. Put something cold next to the sting to slow the spread of the poison through the blood.
  4. Drink plenty of fluids after a bite.
  5. Take antihistamines.

If a person has severe symptoms after a hornet bite, you should call an ambulance immediately. People with insect allergies should always have an epinephrine drug and syringes at home. After the bite, the solution is injected into the muscle of the leg.

Important: Alcohol is contraindicated for several days after the bite, as it leads to increased swelling.

Rules of conduct near hornets

Hornets rarely attack without reason. In order not to provoke them to bite, you need to be careful with the insects. Do not get close to them, do not touch or in any case do not touch the nest. If the insect flew into the house – try to expel it to the street. If you find a hornet’s nest near your home, contact an exterminator to have it removed.

Do not go near dead hornets and do not kill them near other insects – when dead, the hornet’s body emits substances that attract fellow insects. Remember that hornets love sweets, so use caution when eating sugary drinks and fruit outside.

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Written by Emma Miller

I am a registered dietitian nutritionist and own a private nutrition practice, where I provide one-on-one nutritional counseling to patients. I specialize in chronic disease prevention/ management, vegan/ vegetarian nutrition, pre-natal/ postpartum nutrition, wellness coaching, medical nutrition therapy, and weight management.

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