Insect Sting or Bite Allergies

Usually produce only local irritation and discomfort. However, for an unlucky few, about 1% of us injected with insect venom during a sting can have more serious consequences. Reactions can range from large local responses to death due to an allergy to the venom.
Insect Sting Allergy

Local Reactions

These consist of sharp pain at the site of the sting. The skin surrounding the sting site becomes red within minutes and may swell to golf-ball size or larger. The allergic reaction is produced by Histamine-like substances released form mast cells located in the skin.

Treatment

Thorough cleansing of the area to prevent infection should be administered immediately. The stinger should be carefully flicked away. Avoid compressing the stinger to prevent the release of additional venom. Apply ice at the site of injection.

Generalized Allergic Reactions

These may range from diffuse itching, hives, swelling of upper airways can be experienced as fullness of throat or hoarseness, shortness of breath, wheezing, coughing and chest tightness, severe drop in blood pressure causes dizziness or loss of consciousness. Intestinal symptoms such as nausea, vomiting and pain. These generalized reactions can progress rapidly to a life-threatening situation.

Management

Seek immediate medical treatment if you experience itching, hives, dizziness, wheezing, nausea, stomach cramps, or diarrhea.

All patients who have generalized reactions should keep an EpiPen or an AnaKit to use in case of a severe reaction and seek immediate medical treatment.

All patients who have had a generalized (systemic) reaction should have skin testing with insect venom.

Desensitization with insect venom is recommended to those who reacted to skin testing. Studies show that 95% of patients treated with insect venom injections gained protection. When these patients were re-stung after several months of therapy, only 5% experienced a significant reaction.

Prevention

As with other types of allergic disease, prevention is the key to staying healthy. Precautions can be taken to reduce the risk of an insect sting during the summer months:
  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and full-length pants with socks and shoes when outdoors.
  • Remove known stinging insect nests from areas around your home. This is best done by a professional exterminator.
  • Avoid areas that attract such insects, such as brightly-colored flowers.
  • DO NOT wear perfume or cologne.
  • DO NOT wear pastel-colored clothes. Wear muted greens, white and khaki.
  • Keep lids on garbage cans.
  • DO NOT drink from opened containers where you cannot see what is inside.
  • Check your car for insects before you get in. Then, drive with your car windows and sunroofs closed.

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It's Time to Do Something About Your Allergies!

Your treatment will be performed by an expert Allergist. Schedule your appointment now!

It's Time to Do Something About Your Allergies!

Your treatment will be performed by an expert Allergist. Schedule your appointment now!