Tips and tricks

Why nettle stings: photos, reasons, benefits, first aid for burns

Very many people are familiar with the situation when walks in the grassy thickets in nature end with the appearance of blisters on the skin, their unbearable itching and spoiled mood. This is how the nettle burns, it is a well-known medicinal plant that only benefits from its skillful use. It is worth understanding the causes of burns and determining the methods of first aid.

Nettle contains many vitamins, minerals and amino acids

Why stinging nettles

In order to see the nettles, eyes are not needed, she herself will make it clear what is nearby. No wonder it was called fire-grass, witch's whip or green boiling water. Those who have burned themselves with nettles at least once agree with such definitions.

In fact, the "acute" reaction of a plant is associated with a way of personal self-defense against animals that are ready to eat it. Knowing about such a feature, the latter bypass the bushes, giving them the opportunity to grow, spread, quickly capturing and mastering new territories.

Nettles bite or burn

The opinion that stinging nettle stings is incorrect. Its effect on human skin can be compared with mosquito bites both in the main mechanism and in the consequences (redness, blisters, itching).

All the leaves and stem of the plant outwardly look soft, velvety due to the hairs that densely cover them over the entire surface. This impression is misleading, since they are the reason why the nettle stings and bites. When in contact with the skin, the hairs dig into it like a mosquito's proboscis and secrete irritating substances.

What substance does nettle burn

On the hairs of the plant there are small sacs, similar to capsules filled with juice with a sharp tip. At the moment of contact, the tip breaks, the contents are injected under the skin and an instant reaction is observed caused by the substances that make up the juice:

  • choline;
  • serotonin;
  • histamine;
  • formic acid.

Histamine causes an instant allergic reaction - rashes on the skin in the form of blisters and redness, and formic acid burns at the point of contact with the plant.

Important! Not everyone who has been stung by nettles has an allergic reaction.

Perishable foods can be stored in nettle leaves

What does a nettle burn look like?

Burn symptoms appear immediately after contact with the plant:

  1. Acute short-term pain occurs (about 10-15 minutes).
  2. Redness, swelling, temperature rise in the affected area develops.
  3. Blisters and itching appear.

Important! To exclude the possibility of infection, do not comb the burned area.

Sometimes nettle burns so that allergic attacks are observed, characterized by symptoms:

  1. General weakness arises.
  2. The body temperature rises.
  3. Shortness of breath appears.

In this case, it is necessary to urgently seek medical help from specialists. It is worth consulting a doctor if a nettle burn that looks like in the photo does not go away throughout the day.

Some tropical nettles burn so hard that touch can kill

Why is it useful to sting with nettles

Not everything is so critical if contact with the nettle cannot be avoided, and it burns. No wonder the plant belongs to medicinal, has long been used in folk and official medicine for the treatment of many diseases. It is eaten, used in cosmetology. Therefore, nettle burns have benefits and positive aspects.

Why nettle burns are useful

When the tips of the capsules located on the stems and leaves pierce the skin, blood rushes to the epidermis, stimulation of the capillaries and the entire circulatory system occurs. This effect is often used to treat varicose veins, atherosclerosis, rheumatism, arthritis, to ensure blood flow to the right place.

The reason that stinging nettle is in the presence of formic acid, which can have not only an irritating effect, but also an antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and analgesic. Choline, which is part of the juice, helps to reduce the level of bad cholesterol and strengthen cell membranes. Serotonin helps to eliminate toxins from the body.

Why stinging nettle is harmful to the skin

Most often, the biggest harm from stinging nettles comes down to temporary discomfort, minor swelling and redness. They pass relatively quickly and do not bear any serious consequences.

Sometimes there are allergic reactions to formic acid, histamine, serotonin and choline. In this case, you will need to take antihistamines and anti-inflammatory drugs according to the dosage and scheme prescribed by the doctor.

Painful condition from a burn can last up to three days

How to get rid of a nettle burn

If the nettle stings and itchy blisters form on the skin, this is not a cause for panic. There are many options for help at this point. It all depends on how severe the pain and redness are. You can use both traditional methods, proven for centuries, and medicines.

First aid for burns with nettles

If it burns badly at the site of the lesion, then you must first clean the surface of the skin. To do this, moisten the napkin in cold water and wipe the affected area. Hair can be removed with adhesive tape, which is first applied to the skin and then torn off. She will take the stuck tips of the capsules with her. Further, the treatment is carried out with hydrogen peroxide or other disinfectant solution.

The nature of the first aid depends on where the person is, how badly the skin burns at the site of the lesion, and what means are available at that moment.


You can relieve pain from nettle burns while being outdoors in one of the following ways:

  1. Find leaves of plantain or sorrel, rinse them, rub them in your hands and attach to the place where it burns.
  2. Rinse skin with plenty of cold water.
  3. Make a mud lotion, dry it and remove it so that the hairs of the plant are removed along with the earth.

Important! The latter method is applicable only if the skin is not damaged and has been vaccinated against tetanus.

The tips of the hairs are very sharp and consist of silicon salt

At home

At home, you can get rid of stinging nettle with baking soda. A gruel is made from it and applied to the site of the lesion. The powder neutralizes formic acid, the inflammation subsides.

Alternatively, treatment with table vinegar and laundry soap diluted with boric or salicylic alcohol is acceptable.

The area of ​​the skin that is reddened and burning is treated with aloe juice or ice cubes made from it. Regular ice or any frozen product wrapped in a towel can also alleviate the condition a little.

With the help of medicines

If folk remedies do not have the desired effect and the site of the lesion is still burning, inflamed, itchy, then medications for nettle burns are used:

  1. Menovazin, Fenistil - antipruritic and analgesic ointments.
  2. Aspirin, Paracetomol - relieves swelling and inflammation.
  3. Tavegil, Suprastin, Claritin are antihistamines that can stop an allergic reaction.

Important! The use of any of the medicines should be agreed with the attending physician.

The plant is used as a hemostatic, choleretic and anti-inflammatory agent.

What to do if a child is burned by nettles

The skin of a child is more sensitive than that of adults, and even with the slightest touch of the nettle, it becomes inflamed and sore. Young children can scratch the affected area and injure it further. Therefore, urgent measures must be taken:

  1. Wash your skin with cold water.
  2. Treat it with a solution of alcohol or vodka.
  3. When blisters appear, make a lotion of 1% boric acid solution.
  4. Put anti-inflammatory ointment on the affected area (Bepanten, Acyclovir).

Later, the child needs to show the plant and explain how he got a bite from the nettle, why it burns, so that in the future the baby avoids it and does not touch it.

When should I see a doctor?

Immediate medical attention is needed if a person is allergic to any of the substances in nettle juice. To recognize the reaction, it is necessary to monitor the condition and call an ambulance in the following situations:

  • difficulty breathing;
  • the occurrence of a feeling of stiffness in the chest;
  • swelling of the mouth, lips, tongue;
  • a rash that spreads all over the body;
  • convulsions, vomiting, diarrhea.

It is worth contacting a pediatrician if a small child has received a burn, and there is at least one of the listed symptoms.

Medical help is needed if not only severe nettle burns are received, but an infection has occurred, in which the skin is burning, inflamed and hot to the touch.

How to avoid stinging nettle

Leaving the forest, the river and the dacha, it is difficult to sit still. Playing football or just walking, you may not notice how the nettles are already burning, because they are in its thickets. In order not to have to get rid of the itching from nettles in the future, you should heed the advice:

  1. Examine the clearing and mark dangerous places, throw branches or fence them off with ribbons.
  2. Avoid shorts and short-sleeved T-shirts in favor of clothing that covers the legs and arms.
  3. Show the children the plant, explain how it burns, and describe vividly the possible consequences of contact with it.
  4. Bring first aid supplies with you.

Stinging nettle grows up to 2 m in height and forms dense thickets

What to do to prevent stinging nettle

Nettle is considered an excellent fertilizer; an infusion is made from it, which is fed to garden crops. The plant is used for food, salads, first courses, vitamin seasonings. Its medicinal properties are widely known.

To prepare raw materials, you must act carefully, since the nettle burns. However, if you gently grab the stem and pinch the hairs, they won't do any harm. During cooking, the foliage is quickly doused with boiling water and rinsed with cold water, after which it does not burn your hands.


There is nothing wrong with stinging nettles - this is a plant's self-preservation reaction. Most often, the burns it inflicts are minor and pass quickly. Do not be afraid of them, but you need to start worrying only if you have an allergic reaction.

Watch the video: First Aid: How to Treat Burns (June 2021).