Some insects inject venom into your skin when they bite or sting you. For people with a stinging insect allergy, this venom can pose a serious health risk. Read on to find out more about possible triggers that Premier Allergy & Asthma can test you for, as well as the treatment options we offer.
It is important to seek testing If you have ever experienced a strong reaction to a bite or sting. Our tests will help you identify potential allergies associated with five common stinging insects: honey bees, wasps, white-faced hornets, yellow hornets, and yellow jackets.
Redness, itching, and swelling are all common reactions to bites or stings. These symptoms are common and nothing to be alarmed about. However, for people with a stinging insect allergy, venom from certain insects could cause the immune system to overreact and produce immunoglobulin E. The allergic reaction happens when these antibodies tell the body to release histamine.
In some cases, a sting could cause anaphylaxis and lead to a life-threatening situation. Adults are more prone to this threat than children. Severe reactions may cause symptoms like swelling of the tongue or throat, labored breathing, dizziness, itching and hives, stomach cramps, diarrhea, and nausea.
Avoiding insects that sting is the best way to stop a possible allergic reaction. Disturbing the homes of these insects is something you should avoid at all costs. In the interests of your health and safety, you should have professionals locate and remove any nests in or near your home.
Here are some tips to help you avoid stinging insects:
- Stay calm and walk away slowly whenever you come in contact
- Avoid perfumes and bright clothing when you are outdoors
- Be alert when eating, cooking, or holding sweet drinks outdoors because many insects are attracted to the aromas
- Keep your food covered when eating outside
- Avoid wearing sandals or open-toed shoes
- Insects can get trapped in your clothing, so also avoid loose-fitting garments
Remove the insect’s stinger right away if it remains in your skin. Pulling it out within 30 seconds will help you avoid receiving any more venom. Removal can be as easy as a glancing scrape with your fingernail.
If you need to treat the local reaction of a stinging insect allergy, you should:
- Raise the limb that has been stung
- Use cold compresses to reduce any swelling
- Gently use soap and water to wash the affected area
- Take antihistamines or apply topical steroid ointments to help itching
To effectively treat a severe reaction, you should:
- Seek an epinephrine pen prescription from your Allergist
- Learn to self-administer epinephrine and always carry it on you
- Have someone drive you to the emergency room. Epinephrine is only a rescue medication, so you will still need treatment from a doctor.
If you are concerned you may have a stinging insect allergy, or you are certain that you do and would like to know more about your treatment options, contact Premier Allergy & Asthma today for an appointment.