Yellow jackets are predatory insects that can sting when they are agitated. They are commonly black and yellow, or sometimes black and white, and are often mistaken for bees or wasps. Most people are not allergic to yellow jackets. However, if you are stung, it is good to know what signs to watch out for in case a visit to the doctor is necessary.
Symptoms of a Non-Allergic Reaction
The human body automatically reacts to insect bites or stings, whether there is an allergic reaction or not. If you are not allergic, it is common to see redness and swelling in the area of the sting. Most likely, some pain will be experienced as well. The swelling can often look severe but usually will subside after several hours. This reaction is normal and, depending on the level of itching, warmth, and swelling, could mean you have a mild allergy to yellow jackets, but it does not signify a severe allergic reaction. The best way to treat such a sting is to cleanse and disinfect the area and apply an ice pack to the site.
Symptoms of a Severe Allergic Reaction
It is important to be aware of early warning signs for a severe allergic reaction, as these could potentially be life threatening. A person who is severely allergic to yellow jacket stings will usually experience difficulty breathing or wheezing, swelling of the mouth, throat, or face, hives beyond the site of the sting, rapid pulse, or dizziness. If you are stung by a yellow jacket and experience one of more of these symptoms, it is best to consult a doctor immediately. One of the biggest dangers is for the person’s airway to close up and prevent breathing. It is also important to note that if you have had a mild to severe reaction in the past, it is very likely to have a similar or worse reaction the next time you are stung.
“Bee and Wasp Stings.” eMedicineHealth.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 9 Nov. 2010. www.emedicinehealth.com/bee_and_wasp_stings/article_em.htm.
“Bee and Wasp Stings Treatment: First Aid Information for Bee and Wasp Stings.” First Aid Guide and Emergency Treatment Instructions . N.p., n.d. Web. 8 Nov. 2010. http://firstaid.webmd.com/bee-and-wasp-stings-treatment.