The Best Sting Relief for First Aid and Survival

Stings can be deadly to those with specific allergies, but they can also be excruciatingly painful for anyone. Stings and insect bites can range in pain from wasp stings all the way up to jellyfish and bullet ant stings, and the pain can last from a few hours to several days.

There are a few options to consider when it comes to sting relief with different applications and medicines used. This is where we come in. We’ve researched the best sting relief, tested each of them, and now the results are in: the overall best, a budget option, and an upgrade option. If you need to clear up some sting and insect bite pain, one of our suggestions has you covered.


Contents (Jump to a Section)


Cutter BiteMD Insect Relief Pen

The Best Sting Relief

BiteMD

Easy Application, Compact, and Durable

Stow this little pen in any kit for fast-acting sting relief that anyone can administer with just one hand.

*Price at time of publishing; check for price changes or sales.

Cutter is well known for its preventative sprays (repellants) but they also make a great product here. BiteMD combines benzocaine, camphor, and phenol into a little applicator stick that makes it easy to treat and stow while you are on the move. The whole pen weighs just an ounce but has many uses stored in it, so it’s going to last a lot longer than a handful of single application wipes. The size and weight make it super easy to add to any first aid or survival kit- or just to keep on you when you’re outside.

The effectiveness and the application method make BiteMD a winner, and it’s an auto-include in our first aid kits going forward.


Pac-Kit Sting Relief Wipes

Budget Sting Relief

Pac-Kit Sting Relief

Fast-Acting, Inexpensive, and Lightweight

These single-use wipes are the best cost-effective solution for multiple first aid and survival kits.

*Price at time of publishing; check for price changes or sales.

You may recognize Pac-Kit boxes as the restockable components of standardized first aid kits. The box size is a little overkill for the ten packets inside, but when it’s a mass-produced and effective product, you just can’t beat the price. Despite the listing, the ingredients are benzocaine (like the others on our list), and isopropyl alcohol. These make it act fast to numb up the affected area and make the initial sting/bite pain more tolerable.

We like to save even more money by breaking these boxes up and only adding a few packets between our survival kits. This makes the cost, weight, and profile negligible but we still have an effective numbing agent for bites and stings. Pick up Pac-Kit Sting Relief to give your budget some relief.


Sting-Kill Swabs

Upgrade Sting Relief

Sting-Kill

Small, Effective, and Lightweight

Take the bite out of the sting with the most powerful relief that doubles up on benzocaine and menthol.

*Price at time of publishing; check for price changes or sales.

Sting-Kill has been the leader in this area for a while and it’s easy to see why. They pack tons of benzocaine and menthol into little internal-glass capsules that mix together when crushed. This lets the chemical reaction be applied to the bite or sting giving instant relief. For such a small application, the effects last several hours as well. It’s not recommended that you apply more than four in a day due to the strength.

If you don’t want to worry about stings and insect bites, Sting-Kill is the best solution for your first aid and survival kits.


Everything We Recommend

BiteMD Insect Bite Relief Pen

BiteMD

Stow this little pen in any kit for fast-acting sting relief that anyone can administer with just one hand.

Where to Buy

$4* at Amazon

*at time of reviewing

Pac-Kit Sting Relief Wipes

Pac-Kit Sting Relief

These single-use wipes are the best cost-effective solution for multiple first aid and survival kits.

Where to Buy

$2* at Amazon

*at time of reviewing

Sting-Kill Disposable Swabs

Sting-Kill

Take the bite out of the sting with the most powerful relief that doubles up on benzocaine and menthol.

Where to Buy

$11* at Amazon

*at time of reviewing


The Kits We Compared

Our research narrowed the field down to the several bite relief kits that we tested: Pac-Kit, Cutter, Sting-Kill, Dukal, Rescue Essentials, Dermoplast, Sting Away, various suction kits, and more.

You can see our full list of review criteria below in the what to look for section, with an explanation for each.

We quickly discovered that suction kits do not work for stings and bites, providing little benefit for any sort of first aid application. One of the few things suction kits can help with is botflies, but that is more related to the larvae they infest under your skin than venom from a bite or sting.

We’re always looking for new and better equipment, so if you have some sting relief that you swear by let us know down in the comments. We review most of our tested gear annually, so we can always get it in the next roundup round and see if it makes the cut and we can see if it will beat out our top picks.


What to Look For

The best sting relief has several important features to look for:

  1. Value
  2. Effectiveness
  3. Medicine Type
  4. Size & Weight
  5. Versatility

When you get the right blend of these, you can find reliable relief that will let you carry on. Below, we break down what each of these features means for dependable sting pain relief.

Value: Cost vs. Benefit

The amount of money you spend on something like a niche first aid component shouldn’t blow out your entire budget. Don’t go overspending or overdo it. Budget according to your risk and your needs rather than just spending lavishly.

On the flip side, you don’t want to go too cheap or just plain get the wrong thing. Rubbing triple antibiotic or hydrogen peroxide on a bite or sting won’t help much with the pain or the itching.

You never want to spend too much money on one resource, especially something like a specialized first aid treatment. It’s better to diversify your preparedness gear to make sure you are covered for a wide range of scenarios. There is a sweet spot where you get high value with not-to-high of a price, which is where our top pick sits.

Effectiveness

How effective a sting relief kit is is determined by:

  • Pain reduction/elimination
  • Itch reduction/elimination
  • Duration of effects
  • Side effects

Limiting pain is important since some stings and bites (in rare cases) can be debilitating. Bullet ants and box jellyfish stings can cause intense pain that lasts several hours to days. Although not necessarily lethal, the pain from these will prevent you from getting much accomplished if left untreated. The solution that reduces and dulls the pain the most and for the longest time was the main consideration for the best sting relief.

You also don’t want to approach every problem with a sledgehammer, so treatments that had major side effects (such as motor impairment) should not be considered.

Medicine Type

Numbing the localized area of the bite or sting proved to be the most effective solution, with various doses of:

  • Benzocaine
  • Lidocaine
  • Menthol

Other ingredients were typically for application speed and sterilization, and we found the benzocaine treatments to be slightly better performers.

Size & Weight

The delivery method of the sting relief can vary quite a bit: application pens, wipes, capsules, swabs, and jellies were all encountered in our tests. Some of these made the medicine easier to apply than others, but they also affected the size and weight of the treatment.

As you know, both size and weight are important when considering gear for mobile survival kits and mobile first aid kits. This wasn’t a huge issue with sting relief, as even the bulkiest options only weighed an ounce.

Versatility

Versatility in these options showed up in two ways: being able to use the sting relief to treat more than just stings, and also being able to apply the treatment more easily.

While you could use sting relief to numb other injuries, there are typically better solutions for the job that are essential for first aid kits. Being able to treat a bite or sting on a hand while using just one hand, however, is a big bonus for versatility. Our top pick really stood out here with the ease of use.


How to Use Sting Relief

Ouch, that bite or sting hurt!

First things first, get rid of whatever bit or stung you but try to make note of what it is. If there is a stinger still at the site, you’ll need to remove it.

After that, clean the spot. Hot water can actually help with the pain and itching as well, so if you have that handy it’s the best option. (Hot, not scalding).

Once it’s clean then you can apply the sting relief and feel the numbing agent kick in quickly.

Coyote shows how to use our upgrade pick (with the older packaging) in this video, although it is a little ridiculous:


Who Needs Sting Relief?

Sting relief isn’t 100% necessary since you can survive without it. But if you need it, it’s definitely worth the weight and cost to have around. Instead of agonizing through pain for a few minutes to several days, you can treat the issue and get on with it.

All of the sting relief kits we tested were very lightweight so there are not many drawbacks to getting them into your kits.

We suggest that you add them to:

And that you consider adding them to:

Just be sure to have some available somewhere before you or someone in your family needs it.

How We Review Products: We research thoroughly before selecting the best products to review. We consult experts in the field for a better understanding of what makes the gear great. Hours on end are spent field testing gear in stressful conditions. We assign performance criteria and impartially rate each tested item. You can support us through our independently chosen links, which can earn us a commission at no extra cost to you. After our review process, some of the items reviewed end up in our giveaways.

Sources and References

All of our experience and the testing we do to determine the best sting relief is useless without listing our research sources and references. We leaned on these for the book knowledge that we paired with our hands-on testing and practical military and prepping experience:

Arnold, H. (1972). Immediate Treatment of Insect Stings. JAMA. Volume 220. Issue 4. Pages 585 – 586. (Source)

Reisman, R. (1994). Insect Stings. The New England Journal of Medicine. Issue 331. Pages 523 – 527. (Source)

Taylor, J. (2007). Treatment of Jellyfish Stings. Medical Journal of Australia. Volume 186. Issue 1. Page 43. (Source)


The Final Word

When you get bit or stung, being able to treat it quickly and effectively is a luxury anyone can afford. All it takes is a little prior planning to have the right stuff on hand. Hopefully, we’ve helped you get a little more prepared today.

Here are a few other articles our readers have found helpful:

We presented quite a lot of information, but as always: if you have any questions let us know and we would be happy to help. Our research and testing found BiteMD to be the best option given its value, effectiveness, medicine type, size/weight, and versatility.

If you pick up one of our suggested sting relief kits- make sure you know how to use it before you need it. You’ll also want to make sure you know exactly where you keep it. You don’t want to be digging through a whole kit when you are in pain- organization is key!

Keep exploring, stay prepared, and be safe.


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The Best Sting Relief

Rusty Collins

I am an engineer by day, but a prepper 24/7. I am an Air Force veteran that developed emergency and disaster plans as an emergency manager and responded to many attacks and accidents as a HAZMAT technician. I have been exposed to deadly chemical agents, responded to biological incidents, and dealt with natural disasters worldwide. Check out my full story here: Rusty's Story

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