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Wasp Stings — A Cycling hazard

Today I destroyed about a dozen paper wasp nests in an old crumpled yard umbrella. I was not stung (praise the virtues of a water hose!).

In some kind of karmic revenge (maybe the Greeks had it right with all their cosmic denizens?), I was riding fast on my way home when I was smacked in my lower lip by an apparent wasp. The little bastard had his way with me and 20 minutes later as I arrived home, I couldn’t talk without slurring my words, as by now the right side of my mouth had swollen to an ugly and disfiguring welt.

As I felt no non-local symptoms (no swelling of throat or shortness of breath), I applied ice and this gradually brought the swelling down. I usually take 4-5 days to heal from such stings (perhaps a little tissue necrosis), a particularly annoying side-effect.

Lip stings from wasps rank right up their with the dentist’s drill, and are much worse than a sting in the ear, head, leg, or belly under the jersey, all of which I’ve received while riding. This year has been a bad one, for unknown reasons. Which makes riding at high altitude all the more appealing— no wasps or bees!

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