Did you know that you are unlikely to get a wasp sting until the autumn?  At this time of year the nests are very crowded and the temperature of the nest can be 10 degrees higher than those outside.  Also at this time of year wasps become more aggressive in their search for sweet foodstuffs. A combination of this quest for food and nest overcrowding leave the wasp to be particularly bad tempered and prone to stinging humans. wasp stings However, it’s important to remember that a wasp or bee can sting at any time of the year if they are threatened and will sting self-defence. Avoid the sting: 1.    Don’t wear perfumes or colognes as they can deceive the insect into believing you are a source of nectar. 2.    Avoid wearing brightly coloured clothes, which can attract bee and wasps; remember flowers are brightly coloured. 3.    Be careful when eating outdoors, sugar foods, drinks and fruit can attract the insects. 4.    Avoid walking bare foot in on lawns and long grass. 5.    Try not to wear loose fitting clothes; a wasp that manages to get under your clothes may sting you if it feels threatened or trapped. 6.    Stay still if a bee or wasp is hovering around you, sudden movements like swatting can make the insect feel threatened. 7.    Keep car window rolled up to avoid having the insects flying in. 8.    Cover waste bins especially if they contain waste food stuffs such as fruit or empty soda bottles which attract the bees and wasps. 9.    Be cautious when working in your flower garden or even just admiring the flowers, this is where the bee and wasps hang out. 10.    Call a professional if you discover a bee or wasp nest in your garden 3 Steps to Treat an Insect Sting: A sting from a bee of a wasp can be particularly painful rather that dangerous.  However it is important to watch out for an allergic reaction, which can, in a small number of cases lead to anaphylactic shock.  Additionally a sting to the mouth or throat can be particularly dangerous as the resultant swelling can obstruct the airway. 1.    Reassure the casualty and if the sting barb is visible scrape it off sideways with bankcard or similar. Do not use a tweezers as you may squeeze the sting and inject more poison into the casualty. 2.    Raise the affected part if possible and apply a cold compress such as an ice pack, for at least 10 minutes to minimise swelling.  Seek medical attention if the pain or swelling persists. 3.    Monitor vital signs, how responsive the person is – their breathing and pulse.  Beware of changes which could indicate allergic reaction, such a difficulty breathing or swelling of the neck or tongue.

Ref Irish Red Cross 9th Edition First Aid Manual

By Kieran Meehan Resources: Irish Red Cross First Aid Manual

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