Approximately 5% of Americans are at risk for a severe, potentially life-threatening allergic reaction from stinging insects called anaphylaxis. Unfortunately, most people are not aware they are allergic to insect stings until after they experience a reaction. The most common insects that cause a reaction are: yellow jackets, honey bees, paper wasps, hornets and fire ants.
Symptoms of anaphylaxis include:
Swelling, redness and warmth at the site of the sting alone does not constitute an anaphylactic reaction but does require observation and possible treatment. Treatment: Anaphylaxis is a medical emergency and can be fatal. If you or anyone else experiences any of the above symptoms after an insect sting, call 911. If an Epi-pen or Twin-ject is available it should be administered immediately. Proper care of an insect sting can ease the pain. Use the following tips to treat a non-anaphylactic sting:
Preventing stings You can take steps to protect yourself and others from being stung:
If you experience a severe reaction to insect stings or think you may be allergic, consult with an Asthma and Allergy Center clinician to accurately diagnose your condition. If you are diagnosed with an allergy to insect venom, venom immunotherapy may be recommended to decrease your sensitivity. Venom immunotherapy is 97% effective in preventing future allergic reactions.