VERIFY: Do pennies relieve wasp and bee sting pain?

Do pennies relieve bee and wasp sting pain? Our fact-checkers went to work.

HOUSTON - Our fact-checkers have been looking into a question that's been buzzing around - will putting a penny on a bee or wasp sting lessen the pain and swelling?

The home remedy is popular advice online - saying that, for instance, if you're stung on the arm, tape the penny to it for fifteen minutes. The idea is that the copper in the penny will take the 'sting' out of it.

Here's what we found:

  • Most pennies in circulation are copper-plated zinc, not true copper
  • Even if you had copper, a medical expert says 'don't count on it'
  • A local allergist says that the essential reaction to a wasp sting is through a protein and has nothing to do with being acidic or basic, making the copper theory a likely 'old wives tale'

VERIFY: Sources

Dr. David Amran, Houston allergist

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