A bee sting usually hurts and causes redness, itching, and swelling where it happened. These symptoms may last several minutes up to 7-10 days. Some people can have a serious allergic reaction to insect stings, called anaphylaxis, which needs immediate medical attention.
Common stinging bugs in our area that can cause allergies are yellow jackets, honeybees, wasps, and hornets. If you have a severe allergic reaction from an insect sting, please call us at (920) 435-6601. We can provide you with an allergy evaluation conducted by a board certified allergist.
Anaphylaxis is a severe allergic reaction that can occur within minutes of being stung by an insect. It is a life-threatening condition that requires immediate medical intervention. If you experience symptoms such as difficulty breathing, swelling of the face or throat, dizziness, or a rapid heartbeat after being stung, it is crucial to seek emergency medical help.
Yellow jackets, honeybees, wasps, and hornets are the most common stinging insects in our area that can trigger allergies. These insects often inhabit outdoor spaces such as gardens, parks, and picnic areas. Be careful in these areas, especially if you are allergic to insect stings.
Our board certified allergist can conduct an allergy evaluation to determine the specific allergens that may be causing your reactions. This evaluation may involve skin tests or blood tests to identify the allergens and develop an appropriate treatment plan.
Avoid wearing bright-colored clothing and floral patterns, as these can attract stinging insects. Keep food and drinks covered when outdoors, as they can also attract these bugs. Keep calm and walk away slowly from stinging insects without swatting or making sudden movements to avoid getting attacked.
Remember, if you suspect you have a stinging insect allergy, it is essential to take it seriously and seek medical help. Evaluate and manage allergies to reduce severe reactions and safely enjoy outdoor activities without worry.
Tips on how to avoid getting stung include:
- Stay away from the insect’s territory or nests.
- Hire a professional exterminator to destroy hives and nests around your home.
- If you encounter stinging insects remain calm and slowly move away, don’t swat at them.
- Avoid wearing bright colored clothing and perfumes when outside.
- Avoid loose fitting clothes that can trap the insect.
- Wear closed toe shoes and avoid going barefoot when outside.
- Be careful when cooking or eating and keep food and drinks covered when outside.
- Trash containers attract insects, so keep them clean and away from your activity.
However stings still happen no matter how careful you are. You can use calamine lotion or a steroid cream and take an antihistamine to relieve itching. These products are available without a prescription. If the swelling progresses or if it appears infected you should see your provider, you may need an antibiotic.
For people who are allergic to stinging insects the body produces an antibody called Immunoglobulin E, also known as IGE. Stinging insects' venom reacts with IgE, causing the release of histamine and other chemicals that trigger allergies. For a small number of people a severe venom allergy can be life-threatening.
It can be very difficult to identify or distinguish between the different stinging insects. Venom testing is the best method to determine what insect caused your allergic reaction.
Venom immunotherapy is the best treatment for those with allergies to stinging insects, almost like a cure. Venom injections are 97% effective in stopping future allergic reactions, says the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. However, it is further suggested that anyone who has had an anaphylactic reaction to stinging insects should carry and know how to use an Epi-Pen, which is a self-injectable epinephrine used for emergency treatment.
Venom allergy shots (immunotherapy) may be the therapy of choice for stinging insect allergy. Venom immunotherapy is a series of injections given over a period of 5 years or longer. This process is like vaccines. It reduces your sensitivity to venom by injecting more venom gradually over time.
If you need an appointment for further evaluation for possible stinging insect allergy, contact our office at (920) 435-6601 and we will schedule an appointment for you to see our Board Certified Allergist.