Hornet stings are often reported as some of the most painful of any type of stinging insect. In many regions, two highly aggressive species, bald-faced hornets and European hornets, commonly reside throughout the area. The hornets possess smooth stingers protruding from the base of the abdomen. The smooth texture of their stingers allows the insects to sting repeatedly and quickly, unlike other species of bees and wasps whose stingers are often barbed and tear off when attacking prey or fending off intruders (frequently resulting in the death of the insects). Hornet stings generally cause swelling and irritation of the skin, mostly due to the venom the stingers contain, which is released upon breaking the skin. The swelling, itching, and general discomfort associated with hornet stings usually lasts around 24 hours.
Ice and elevation help alleviate much of the swelling and pain associated with hornet stings. If an individual suffers several stings simultaneously, the victims may want to consider visiting a doctor or making a trip to the emergency room in order to properly care for the wounds. Some victims of hornet stings may develop allergic or adverse reactions like shortened breath, severe inflammation or swelling, rapid pulse, dizziness, irregular blood pressure, rashes, or general restlessness. These are often indicators of an allergic reaction. Monitor overall health closely during the first 24 hours after a sting to receive proper treatment in the event of an allergic episode. If an allergic reaction occurs, seek medical attention immediately.