On a Friday my husband and I were both stung several times after disturbing a yellowjacket's nest in the ground near our cottage entrance. We didn't wash the stings or attempt to take out any stingers since we were under the impression that they don't lose stingers. After an hour or so the burning sensation subsided and there was hardly any visible signs of having been stung.
On the following Wednesday evening, 5 days after being stung, we both started to itch. During the day Thursday in one area on my leg it looked like a semicircular red irritation. The pharmacist thought it might be ringworm and I started to put an antifungal. By the evening the semicircle had swollen to a larger area of swollen redness not circular. I also started to have the same swollen area on the back of my ankle on the other leg. Another red area where I am quite positive I had been stung has also started to redden and swell. My husband also has 3 areas that are red and swollen. These areas are about 3" by 3" very burning and itching and red.
During Thursday night I found it impossible to sleep because of the burning sensation.
We have both had black fly bites, mosquito bites before with nothing like this reaction.
Neither of us scratched after the stings - only a bit when the areas started getting itchy so we really don't think we caused an infection but it seems like an infection.
Is it possible to have this delayed reaction to the sting venom? or is it possible that the sting injected some kind of bacteria into us and does it sound like it is infected?
What would you recommend we do to stop the swelling burning and itching?
Your help would be greatly appreciated.
Wash the bites with some antiseptic lotion or soap. Use cold water but avoid the use of warm or hot water as this may tend to stimulate itch. Secondly, apply a cold pack over the bites to reduce swelling.
Please do not scratch the inflamed area as this may lead to open wounds and secondary infections. You may apply a mild steroid cream like 1% hydrocortisone cream and take OTC anthistaminics like Benadryl or Claritin. In case of intense itching an oral dose of anti-histamine like Dimetapp, Chlortrimeton is very effective in relieving itch. Once the itch stops, you will stop scratching as well and the healing will take place faster.
But if the symptoms do not improve or worsen then please consult a dermatologist a course of antibiotics and a jab of steroid may be needed to stop the inflammation.
It is very difficult to precisely confirm a diagnosis without examination and investigations and the answer is based on the medical information provided. For exact diagnosis, you are requested to consult your doctor. I sincerely hope that helps. Take care and please do keep me posted on how you are doing.
Thank you very much for your reply. I did end up going to the hospital where I was given one IV dose of antibiotic which was supposed to last 24 hours and then started oral antibiotics for 6 days. The ER doctor was not 100% sure if it was an infection but because of the late onset and redness creeping up my legs, we were not going to take a chance. Things seemed to improve a little by next night but not the burning. Only Calamine lotion helped and by Wednesday - one week - the swelling in my feet subsided.
At the hospital they had taken a CBC which turned out to be negative. So it may not have been an infection but the antibiotic seemed to help - coincidence?
I am going to see an allergist to find out for the future if I'm allergic to these stings.
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