How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask DrRussMD Your Own Question
DrRussMD, Board Certified Physician
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 64410
Experience:  Internal Medicine--practice all of internal medicine, all ages, family, health, prevention, complementary medicine, etc.
Type Your Medical Question Here...
DrRussMD is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

I was stung 3 times by a ground wasp 24 hours ago, one on the

Customer Question

I was stung 3 times by a ground wasp 24 hours ago, one on the underside of each arm between elbow and shoulder and one on my left forefinger, the last having given me no problems other than the initial small sting. However, both underarm stings started to burn and itch an hour later, and started swelling. Neither site has responded to any topical substance including vinegar (recommended by my physician), hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, meat tenderizer, or any cream of any sort. Not only have they not gotten better, the original swelling has spread and has been migrating down my arm toward my fingers. They remain hot, red, swollen, sore, and continue to burn and itch. The only thing that helps the pain is Vicodin which I have been taking every 4 hours. My doc suggested Benadryl which helps a bit with the itching but not much. I asked about a stronger topical prescription medication but he prescribed methylprednisone, which I started taking around noon.

The hot red swelling continues to migrate downward, toward my hands but remains hot, red and itchy. Is this normal after 24 hours?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Medical
Expert:  DrRussMD replied 5 years ago.
This is a relatively severe reaction to the sting, most likely allergic.

It is not normal if you keep taking the prednisone without effect...say by tonight
This should not keep getting worse with this medication.
If it does you have to consider cellulitis or skin infection but frankly this does not sound to be the case at all at this point.
This has spread to rapidly and therefore is an allergic reaction.
Three doses of the prednisone, to 4 doses should be a good indicator...
I would also stop using topicals as they are adding nothing and depending on what you use might simply irritate this more.

If you want a great home remedy
1 gallon for milk in the bath and soak.

In addition
if you have access to a health food store get homeopathic Apis, the highest potency they have, and take 1 pill under the tongue, once, then as needed.

good luck

If this keeps getting worse...then to the ER
if any new symptoms...ER.
good luck

Let me know if you have further questions

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Forgive me if I sound overly critical because I do appreciate your thoughts. But did you mean to say this has spread "too rapidly", not "to rapidly"? And "1 gallon for milk in the bath" means what? One gallon of milk in a bathtub full of water or just "soak" in a gallon of milk, and do I "soak" my whole self, or just arms?

Also, what is Apis, what does it do, and why under the tongue, and how do I know when it is "as needed" again?

Again, I am not trying to be overly critical, but your phrasing is not clear to me. And I need to know why you are suggesting Apis and more about it.

Thank you for your patience.
Expert:  DrRussMD replied 5 years ago.
too rapidly for infection
the proportion is a gallon to a bath full of water
A cup in a gallon
Apis is a homeopathic ultra high dilution of bee venom, which might relieve your symptoms much as a vaccine dose, if it works and stops, then take it again
Apis is not a drug and will not interact with your other interventions
good luck again

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Dr. ThomasMd: I appreciate your input but I suspect that English is not your first language. I understand "a gallon to a bath full of water", but what does "a cup in a gallon refer to"? As for Apis, I am glad to know of this substance, but my understanding of the term "vaccine" is that vaccines are medications that prevent a disease from occuring in an individual, e.g.,. the polio vaccine, or the measles vaccine. Vaccines do not alleviate symptoms. And do you mean "vaccine "dose"... as in an amount of medication one takes at one time, or do you mean vaccine "does" , as in "much as a vaccine does". These are two very different words with two very different meanings.
Expert:  DrRussMD replied 5 years ago.
In fact
English is not only my first language, but I have a degree in that as well.
And I have taught it.
The proportion of the milk to water, if you don't want to take a bath, is 1 cup to the gallon.
If you go back and read the response, it was not stated that Apis is a vaccine, but that it acts much like a vaccine. In other words, once your system senses the signal from the apis, it knows how to fight off the negative reaction that is happening.
So, the comparison to a vaccine is only by analogy.
It is not a vaccine.
It is as stated, an ultra high dilution of bee venom, to the point there is no venom left, but a signal none the less that teaches the body to over come the similar reaction, which is the wasp sting.
If you would like a complete explanation of homeopathy then a book I hand out in my practice is "Impossible Cure," by Amy Lansky. A NASA scientist who became a homeopath after her child was cured of autism.

good luck again

Let me know if you have further questions

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I am familiar with homeopathy, that is not the issue. Go go back to the statement, "it might relieve your symptoms much as a vaccine dose". Even if meant as an analogy, you are saying Apis might "relieve your symptoms much as a vaccine dose" (or "does", you never did clarify that word ). But vaccines don't relieve symptoms.

If you indeed do have a degree in and have taught English, I am trusting it wasn't grammar. I have found all of your responses to be poorly written, replete with grammatical and spelling errors, including sentences with no verbs. (Review your very last sentence.)

In my humble opinion, your responses were written too (not "to") quickly, contained unclear fragments of sentences, and were poorly constructed. It shouldn't be that hard to decifer the advice of a physician, for which I say "thank you for trying", but I am very far from satisfied with what I received, especially for $55.

The reference to Apis was helpful. Other than that, I have to say I am not a satisfied customer.
Expert:  DrRussMD replied 5 years ago.
That is up to you
DrRussMD, Board Certified Physician
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 64410
Experience: Internal Medicine--practice all of internal medicine, all ages, family, health, prevention, complementary medicine, etc.
DrRussMD and 5 other Medical Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Relist: Answer quality.
I'd like to know what is going on inside my body that is causing the gradual spread of "hot" areas on both upper arms that are swollen, red, hot, burning and itching that started as wasp stings 28 hours ago. I am taking Vicodin every 4 hours for the pain which is the only med that helps at all. Benadryl didn't help at all so doc prescribed methylprednisone which I started this afternoon (have had 3 so far). I am watching it and waiting for a change either way but would like something topical to relieve the itching. One doc recommended vinegar, the other bathing in milk. Why is it itching and why is it spreading?
Expert:  Dr. Phil, MD replied 5 years ago.

Hello. I would like to help you find an answer.


I noticed the relist.


What else can I help you with?

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
The relist states what I want I need help with. I also posted additional questions to you last night and sent it to you but received a message that you were no longer available.

Did you get that response? And forgive me if I sound a bit annoyed but I have posted several times now, and am now responding to "what else can I help you with?"

I am in pain, itching, have asked for help from 3 physicians now. If you can just tell me what is going on that is spreading, what can alleviate the burn and itch other than Benadryl and pain medication, I would be grateful.
Expert:  Dr. Phil, MD replied 5 years ago.

Like the other expert stated possibly an infection but less likely than a prolonged allergic response.


You probably need some intravenous steroids like methyprednisone.


I would urge you to see a doctor at urgent care or the ER.


Allergic reactions can last for days and yours is not improving.