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Wasp and Hornet Stings, the Venom is BREWING

Wasp and Hornet Stings, the Venom is Brewing!

Wasps, yellow jackets, hornets, bees, fire ants, and the like all serve a purpose but can cause painful stings.  There are three types of reactions to an insect sting: normal, localized, and allergic.  A normal reaction will be swelling, redness, and minimal pain.  A localized reaction extends beyond the site of the sting but is no more serious than the normal reaction.  An allergic reaction is when a person is dizzy, blood pressure drops, wheezing, difficulty breathing or swallowing, swelling of the face, or overly anxious.  Allergic reactions require immediate medical attention to contain and treat the reaction as it can be fatal.

So what is in the venom that causes these reactions?  The venom of a wasp causes pain due to its chemical makeup.  The wasps are aiming to cause you to flee in fear of continued stings.  Wasps also use their venom to paralyze insects so that the food source is easier to transport.  When a wasp stings you, the stinger delivers venom into the blood stream.  The peptides and enzymes of the venom break down cellular membranes, causing them too to spill into the blood stream; this sends a signal to the brain that there is a problem and we experience pain.  Other substances in the venom such as nor-epinephrine cause the pain to increase by stopping the flow of blood.  The pain only subsides once the blood stream can carry away the venom.  Mast cell degranulating peptides then melt through the connective tissue and cause the venom to spread, which causes the swelling and redness.  Remember, the severity of the reaction varies by person.

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