Stinging nettle

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The stinging nettle is a plant found all over the world. The plant is an herbaceous perennial with has herbal properties and grows back in the same areas year after year. The leaves and stems of this plant are covered with hollow, brittle and hair-like structures. The stinging hairs are similar to a hypodermic needle when the skin is in direct contact with the plant. The stinging hairs triggers the release of chemical that flows through the tube that causes a stinging sensation and the development of a painful rash.

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  • Red and itchy swelling
  • A burning or stinging sensation
  • Itchy white bumps that last up to 24 hours but can happen repeatedly
  • Cramps, diarrhea and wheezing can happen during severe allergic reactions.


Stinging nettle
Apply a cool compress or ice pack on the area to reduce the stinging sensation.
  • Avoid touching or rubbing the affected area for at least 10 minutes. Pour fresh water on the area without touching it. This helps in preventing the lingering pain for days. Chemical irritants coming from the plant that becomes dry on the surface of the skin can be cleaned using soap and water. Chemicals that are released by the plant include acetylcholine, histamine, serotonin, leukotrienes and moroidin and sometimes formic acid.
  • If soap and water is not available, use a clean cloth to remove the dirt and debris from the plant until it can be thoroughly cleaned.
  • Apply a strong tape such as duct tape to the affected area and then remove the tape. This helps in removing any remaining fibers from the plant that may be stucked in the skin.
  • Another way of removing unwanted plant material from the skin is by using wax hair remover. Apply a layer of wax removal and let it dry for at least 5 minutes and then peel off the wax to take away all the plant debris with it.
  • Avoid scratching the affected area to prevent irritation and making the condition worse. For young children, wear soft gloves or mittens on the hands to minimize scratching of the area.
  • Keep nails short at all times.
  • Apply a cool compress or ice pack on the area to reduce the stinging sensation. The cool temperature helps in minimizing the redness and provides relief from the discomfort caused by the sting.
  • Make a paste using baking soda. Mix baking soda and a few drops of cold water. Mix them well until it becomes the consistency of a paste and then apply it on the affected area. The paste helps lessen the inflammation, itchiness and burning sensation.
  • Apply fresh aloe vera juice on the affected area to minimize the redness and inflammation as well as lessen the burning sensation.
  • The individual should take a bath or shower using cool water and avoid placing anything that is warm to the area. Cool temperatures helps relax the area and lessen the inflammation and redness.
  • Take the prescribed over-the-counter topical creams or lotions that contain hydrocortisone that helps lessen the redness and itchiness.

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