On a hot day last July, I was walking with a friend through a coastal nature reserve when I suddenly felt a sharp, needle-like pinch in the palm of my hand.

I had disturbed a wasp or other stinging insect, and the resulting sting hurt, and the pain increased as the venom spread through my hand and then my arm. There was a lake nearby and we went there so I could take a rest from the cool water, but the pain didn’t go away. On the way home, my hot, red hand continued to swell, and although I put on ice and took an ibuprofen tablet as quickly as possible, the discomfort did not go away. It took days for the swelling to normalize and for the itching and pain to stop.

I thought the whole experience was a normal, if uncomfortable, part of being outdoors in the summer and was just grateful that I didn’t have a severe allergic reaction to the toxins in the poison. (If so, our quiet forest walk could easily have turned into a medical emergency.)

But when I was stung by a paper wasp that had come into my kitchen earlier this week, I was quick to take action to help reduce the swelling and pain. I made a paste out of baking soda and water and stuck this over the stitch point. I left it on until it started falling off and then reapplied. Maybe it was just a fluke, but the swelling, soreness, itching, and soreness weren’t nearly as severe as last summer, and I started to wonder if there are other folk remedies that might actually help after being stung by a wasp became. Bee or hornet.

A quick consultation with the internet and a longer chat with Elizabeth Yori, a naturopathic doctor from Belfast, assured me that there are indeed things to try.

But first, it’s important to note that if you have symptoms of a severe allergic reaction, which may include hives, difficulty breathing, severe itching, swelling of the tongue and throat, rapid pulse, dizziness, nausea and vomiting, or even loss of consciousness, you may have anaphylactic shock and need urgent medical attention.

For those who don’t experience a severe reaction, here are some home remedies that can help if you’ve been stung.

First remove the stinger if it was left behind by the insect. You can scrape a credit card, or even just a playing card, over the stinger to make this easier, then wash the area with soap and water.

Then when you have access to it, Use ice or put a cold compress on the area of ​​the stingerthat can help reduce pain and swelling.

Make an envelope with ribwort, a medicinal herb that grows in meadows, fields and along roadsides. If you find it, chew up the leaves and apply it to the sting. “It’s what we call a spit envelope,” said Yori, the current president of the Maine Association of Naturopathic Doctors. “It’s a traditional usage.”

According to the ediblewildfood.com website, you can You can recognize the ribwort by its green, oval, or egg-shaped leavesthat grow in a rosette. The leaves have thick stems that meet at a base. Long-pointed, green, graceful flowers grow from the base. Yori said it was also possible to use Jewelweed leaves, which have anti-inflammatory properties, in the same way.

Mix baking powder with water and apply the paste as an envelope. “It can pull the poison out a little,” said the doctor.

Make an envelope with clay that you would use for face masks. Mix the clay with water and apply it on the spot, Yori said.

Make a solution of one part tenderizer and four parts water and apply it to the stitch site. It is believed that an enzyme in the meat tenderizer breaks down the protein that causes pain and itching. according to the health information website Healthline.com.

Put a small amount of honey on the spot, cover with a loose bandage and leave on for up to an hour. According to Healthline.com, honey can help with pain, itching, and wound healing.

Use soothing substances such as Aloe vera or marigold cream on the affected side, said Yori. These can help relieve some of the symptoms of a sting, including pain and skin irritation.

Other traditional remedies, according to Healthline.com, include taking anti-inflammatory pain relievers like Advil, using hydrocortisone cream or calamine lotion to reduce itching and redness, and using an oral antihistamine like Benadryl for severe itching and swelling. It’s nice to know that the next time I’m in the way of a wasp or a bee, there are plenty of options.