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Stinging Insect Allergies (Bee Stings, Wasp Stings, Others)

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Stinging insect allergy facts

  • Severity of reactions to stings varies greatly.
  • Most insect stings do not produce allergic reactions.
  • Anaphylactic reactions are the most serious reactions and can be fatal.
  • Anaphylactic reactions can cause swelling of the tongue, hoarseness, difficulty breathing, and loss of consciousness.
  • Itching, hives, skin flushing, and tingling or itching inside the mouth are typical signs and symptoms of an allergic reaction to insect stings.
  • Avoidance and prompt treatment are essential.
  • Allergists are physicians specialized in the diagnosis and treatment of allergies.
  • Epinephrine (available in portable, self-injectable form) is the treatment of choice for anaphylactic reactions.
  • In selected people, allergy injection therapy is highly effective in preventing future reactions.
  • The three "A's" of insect allergy are adrenaline, avoidance, and allergist.

What are stinging insects?

Stinging insects found in the United States include honeybees, yellow jackets, hornets, wasps, and fire ants. While not everyone is allergic to insect venom, reactions in the skin such as mild pain, swelling, and redness may occur with an insect sting.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 8/24/2016


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