After you scrape off the venom-filled stinger, reach for meat tenderizer. That one step, say researchers at Orange Coast Memorial Medical Center in Fountain Valley, CA, can cut the welt size and pain as much as 25 percent. Just mix 1/2 teaspoon of meat tenderizer with just enough water to make a thick paste. Dab on and leave for five minutes. Repeat after a few hours if the pain persists, suggests Arthur Jacknowitz, Pharm.D., a professor of clinical pharmacy at Morgantown’s West Virginia University School of Pharmacy.
Why it Works: “Meat tenderizer is rich in papain -- a digestive enzyme that breaks down the inflammatory proteins that stinging insects leave in skin -- taming the itching, swelling and pain in as little as three minutes,” explains Jacknowitz.