At this point, your wound is still throbbing, so you want to deaden the pain fast. The following substances are effective—but for them to work, you must act quickly after being stung.
Cold. An ice pack, or even just an ice cube, placed over the sting can cut down on swelling and keep the venom from spreading, says Dr. Luscombe.
Heat. Ironically, says Dr. Luscombe, heat can also make you feel better by neutralizing one of the chemicals that causes inflammation. Take a hair dryer and aim it at your sting.
Aspirin. One of the simplest, most effective things you can do, says Dr. Luscombe, is to apply aspirin. Moisten the sting, then rub an aspirin tablet into it. The aspirin neutralizes certain inflammatory agents in the venom. Don't try this if you're allergic to aspirin.
Baking soda. Dr. Frazier recommends applying a paste of baking soda and water.
Meat tenderizer. "An enzyme-based meat tenderizer, such as Adolph's or McCormick's, breaks down the proteins that make up insect venom," says David Golden, M.D. You have to use it right away for it to be effective, however.
Activated charcoal. "A paste of powdered activated charcoal will draw the poison out very quickly, so the sting won't swell or hurt," according to Richard Hansen, M.D. Carefully open a few charcoal capsules and remove the powder. Moisten it with water and apply it to the sting. The charcoal works best if it stays moist, so cover it with gauze or plastic wrap.
Mud. If you don't have anything else handy, says Dr. Hansen, you can mix a little clay soil and water into a mud paste. Apply as you would the charcoal, cover with a bandage or handkerchief, and leave it on until the mud dries.