Wasps are aggressive, solitary insects. They build their nests underground or in cavities in walls and will attack if they feel threatened. Their stings can be extremely painful and lead to uncomfortable allergic reactions. Onion is a natural home remedy for wasp stings that helps reduce the pain, swelling, and other visible signs of the sting.
In the following, we have dealt intensively with the wasp sting itself, the symptoms and various home remedies and remedies. Find out what you should look out for after a wasp sting, why onions are a real miracle cure and how you can generally prevent wasp stings.
What happens with a wasp sting?
Wasps are widespread in Germany in summer, as is the fear of their stings. How dangerous a wasp sting really is varies depending on the site of the sting and the initial treatment. Basically, wasp stings are more painful than dangerous, but there are a few things to consider.
If you are stung by a wasp, the wasp venom enters your body through the stinger. Most people can see swelling at the injection site soon after. The skin reddens, often in connection with severe itching. The symptoms are accompanied by unpleasant pain.
On the other hand, wasp stings become really dangerous if they are stung in the mouth and throat. The wasp venom causes the mucous membranes to swell, which in the worst case can narrow or even completely block your airways. If you or someone close to you is bitten by a wasp in the mouth, you should call an ambulance immediately.
Wasp stings in allergy sufferers
According to current estimates, around 3.5 percent of people living in Germany are allergic to wasps and bee stings. However, such an allergy can only develop if you have already been stung by a wasp. Our body then produces its own antibodies, which, if stung again, encounter the wasp venom and trigger an allergic reaction.
Allergy sufferers react much more severely to wasp stings – so it is important to be quick. Typical symptoms include circulatory problems, fainting spells, severe itching (which is not limited to the puncture site) and even shortness of breath.
In any case, it should first be checked whether the stinger is still in the skin. If so, carefully pull out the spike. Be careful not to squeeze the puncture site and never suck the poison out with your mouth. If you were already aware of the allergy, you should immediately use your emergency kit and take your medication afterwards. If you have an adrenaline-filled emergency shot with you, don’t hesitate and stick it through your pants into your thigh as well. With or without an emergency kit – if you are allergic, you should go to a hospital as soon as possible.
How is an allergy to wasp venom diagnosed?
To diagnose an allergy, you should consult your family doctor. After a detailed initial consultation, he will take some blood from you and test it. If there are signs that you may have an allergy, the next step is to order a skin test.
In a skin test, a little of the wasp venom is administered in a highly diluted form and the respective skin area is observed. This process is repeated with slowly increasing poison concentration until a visible reaction is evoked. This ultimately determines whether an allergy is present and, if so, how severe it is.
The allergy can be treated with immunotherapy. Here, too, a little wasp venom is repeatedly administered over a certain period of time. The therapy extends over a period of several years.
Why onions help with wasp stings
Onions contain allyl sulfide, which has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. This compound has been shown to help with swelling and pain caused by wasp stings. Onion juice also has an anti-inflammatory effect.
Onions are also rich in vitamin C, which helps reduce swelling. B-complex vitamins, which can contribute to calming, can also be found in onions. It is also believed that the enzymes contained in the onion break down the remains of the wasp sting so that the sting site becomes less inflamed. Onions are also said to help with cold symptoms.
How to treat a wasp sting with onions
Cut a fresh piece of onion and mash it with your palm or grate it. Apply the mashed onion or onion juice to the wasp sting. You can also wrap the onion in a cloth and apply it to the puncture site.
Leave it on for about 15 minutes. Then remove the cloth or the piece of onion and wash the area with water. Repeat the process every few hours until the swelling and pain go down.
Onion ointment for wasp stings
If the puncture site is already inflamed and red, you can try applying onion ointment to reduce swelling and reduce pain. It can also help speed up the healing process.
You can make an onion salve at home by mixing 2 teaspoons fresh grated onions with 2 teaspoons melted butter. Apply a little of the mixture to the puncture site. Leave it on for half an hour and then wash it off with water. Repeat the process 3-4 times a day to reduce swelling and pain. Alternatively, you can also ask your pharmacy for an alternative anti-inflammatory ointment.
Other ways to cure a wasp sting with onions
If you have multiple wasp stings, you can also take an onion bath. Add onions to your bath water and let them soak for 15 minutes. The anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of onions help reduce swelling, pain, and redness caused by multiple wasp stings.
You can also mix 1 teaspoon freshly grated onion and 1 teaspoon raw, mashed potato into a paste. A mortar works particularly well for this. Apply the paste to the puncture site for 15 minutes.
This is how you can prevent wasp stings
In addition to aftercare, there is of course always preventive care – so we would like to give you a few tips that you can use to prevent wasp stings:
- Avoid anything that makes the animals aggressive: Although it is difficult, you should remain calm in the presence of wasps and never hit them. Blowing on the wasps is also discouraged.
- Create a distraction with alternative food: Place a plate or bowl with food that is attractive to wasps a little away from your table. This will attract the wasps and keep them away from you. Ripe grapes or sweet berries, for example, are particularly suitable for this.
- Fake wasp nest to deter: Another option is to keep the wasps away with a fake wasp nest. To do this, you can crumple up a simple brown paper bag and place it prominently around you. The wasps will not approach the “foreign nest”.
- Avoid attracting the animals: Wasps are attracted to certain colours as well as some smells. Colourful clothes, floral prints and floral perfumes should be treated with caution. Scented creams and some deodorants also attract small insects.
- Make sweet food and drinks disappear: If you have had a sweet lemonade or a piece of cake, you should clear the dishes as soon as possible or at least cover them.
- Prevention with sturdy shoes: To avoid stepping on a wasp or being bitten by a wasp lying on the ground or flying, you should always wear sturdy shoes outdoors. In midsummer, sandals with a thicker sole will do the trick.
Now you know not only everything about wasp stings but also how to treat your wasp sting with onions. It is important to note that applying onions to the puncture site can cause severe itching. If you have sensitive skin and don’t like the itchiness, you can use an over-the-counter anti-itch cream to relieve the irritation.
However, if the puncture site is already inflamed and red, you can take a quick onion dip or chop an onion and mix it with water or butter to form a paste. Apply the paste to the puncture site and leave it on for 20 minutes. If you are allergic to the sting or notice that the puncture site swells excessively, consult a doctor!
Watch your clothes in the summer and avoid anything that attracts or makes wasps aggressive.