Q. Let's talk about the crawling wasps and hornets of the American Southwest–fire ants and scorpions. These critters give a wallop of a bite or sting without the warning of a buzz.
Years ago, when I moved to Texas with a toddler I was freaked out just by seeing a scorpion. Poison control in San Marcos, Texas, told me to keep meat tenderizer—the kind with papaya extract in it—on hand for bee stings, scorpions and fire ants. Add a little water to a scant handful of tenderizer and put the paste on the sting immediately. It works!
The poison control people also said we should keep tetanus shots up to date because stinging things, especially fire ants, can spread infection.
A. The papaya extract in meat tenderizer breaks down proteins, including the proteins in stings. It is a time-honored treatment for bee and wasp stings. Scorpion stings might be too serious for home remedies. If a child is stung, medical attention would be prudent.