Stinging Insect Allergy

A stinging insect allergy happens when the immune system produces chemicals that cause an allergic reaction after being stung by a stinging insect such as a bee, wasp or yellow jacket. The allergic reaction can be mild to life threatening.

Types of Stinging Insects

  • bees
  • wasps
  • yellow jackets
  • hornets
  • fire ants

Symptoms of an Insect Sting

When someone is stung by an insect, there is usually irritation at the sting site along with pain, redness and swelling.This is a normal reaction after being stung.

People who are allergic will have a more serious reaction that could be deadly. Here are some of the symptoms of anaphylaxis, a severe allergic reaction.

  • hives, red rashes or bumps all over the body
  • swelling of the face and mouth
  • dizziness
  • trouble breathing
  • nausea
  • fear of impending doom

Diagnosis and Treatment

An allergist or immunologist can diagnose an insect allergy by performing allergy testingand provide the best form of treatment.

Avoidance is the best treatment for an insect allergy but sometimes you can’t avoid being stung so make sure to carry an EpiPen or some form of epinephrine injector for emergencies. If anaphylaxis occurs and you don’t have an EpiPen, seek emergency medical attention.

For long-term treatment for insect allergies consider getting allergy shots(immunotherapy). Allergy shots help the body build a natural immunity to an allergen.

If you would like to schedule an appointment for treatment of insect allergies or have any questions about allergy shots, call 1-800-778-9923 or visit the Allergy & Asthma Center location near you.