Stinging Insects: Symptoms Of And Treatment For An Allergic Reaction

2 October 2015
 Categories: Health & Medical , Blog

If you have ever been stung by a bee or a wasp, you know how painful it can be, especially when you are not expecting it to happen. Many people are allergic to bee and wasp stings, and the reaction to a sting can vary from a mild red reaction to anaphylaxis, which is deadly. One of the scariest statistics is that almost half of those who experience a fatal reaction to an insect allergy have never had a previous reaction before. 

Types of Stinging Insects

When it comes down to a stinging insect allergy, there are a handful of different insects that can cause a serious reaction for those who do have an allergic response. If you or someone you love is stung by one of these insects and you know that you or they are allergic, get immediate medical attention:

  • Honeybee
  • Yellow jacket
  • Hornet
  • Wasp

Symptoms of an Allergic Reaction

If you have never been stung by a stinging insect, you may not know what an allergic reaction looks like. Slight pain and redness at the area of the sting is normal; however, you want to watch out for these signs:

  • Dizziness or feeling light headed
  • Feeling itchy all over or having a rash
  • Diarrhea and vomiting
  • Swelling of the throat, lips, tongue, or face
  • Trouble breathing or racing heart

When a sting occurs, venom is injected into your body. Sometimes, the venom acts like a poison in the body, and this results in a severe allergic reaction known as anaphylaxis. Typically, when this type of a reaction occurs, you will experience the following:

  • Seizures
  • Fever
  • Shock
  • Swelling
  • Death

 Treatment for a Sting

1. If you are stung by a stinging insect, the first thing you want to do is use a pair of tweezers to remove the stinger. If you do not have tweezers on hand, you can use your fingernails. 

2. Once the stinger is removed, place some ice on the area to help control any swelling. 

If you are in pain, you can take some over the counter pain medication to reduce the swelling, pain, and, of course, a fever if you have one. You can also place a topical antihistamine over the area to help alleviate any itching associated with the sting. 

3. If you do experience any of the serious symptoms listed above, it is important that you call a medical professional or seek emergency care right away, especially if you have never had an allergic reaction previously.

4. If you have a severe allergic reaction to a bee sting and you have had one before, you can inject yourself with an epinephrine shot right away to help ease the symptoms and prevent throat, tongue, and face swelling. 

5. If you do need to inject yourself with epinephrine, you still need to head to the emergency room so that the doctors can make sure you are stable. 

If you are allergic to stinging insects, it is important that you keep up with pest control around your home to remove any hives or nests. You should also carry your epinephrine injections around with you and always avoid sitting around flowers or other areas where stinging insects gather. You can also make an appointment with an allergy clinic like Oak Brook Allergists to determine what allergies you may have and their severity.