What is the treatment for stinging insect allergy?
If the insect left its stinger in your skin, remove the stinger within 30 seconds to avoid receiving more venom. The stinger and its sac may be removed with a quick scrape of your fingernail.
To treat local reactions to insect stings:
- Raise the affected limb and apply a cold compress to reduce swelling and pain.
- Gently clean the area with soap and water to prevent secondary infections.
- Use topical steroid ointments or oral antihistamines to relieve itching.
- To treat severe reactions to insect stings:
- Learn how and when to self-administer epinephrine. An auto-injectable epinephrine pen can be prescribed by your allergist.
- Always carry an epinephrine pen.
- Remember that epinephrine is a rescue medication only, and that you must still have someone take you to the emergency room immediately if you are stung.
- Consider wearing a medical alert bracelet that identifies you as allergic to venom.
- In most cases, insect venom allergy shots (or immunotherapy) are almost 100% effective in preventing severe reactions. Your allergist will discuss the best form of treatment after appropriate testing has been performed.