Insect Stings Can Cause Allergic Reactions

Posted by on Aug 9, 2013

Insect Stings Can Cause Allergic Reactions

Most people who are stung by insects have a local reaction like swelling and itching of the site. More generalized symptoms are a sign of a possible allergic reaction. Symptoms may include hives, stomach upset, dizziness, increased pulse or trouble breathing. If this happens, go immediately to the emergency room for care since symptoms may progress rapidly into a life-threatening allergic reaction called anaphylaxis.

Effective treatments are available for people with allergies to stinging insects. Epinephrine shots that you can give to yourself are available by prescription; consult with your physician to see if you need one. Allergy shots given in an allergist’s office have also proven to be beneficial for many people with allergies to insect stings.

And as for prevention, the Allergy & Asthma Network Mothers of Asthmatics provides these tips for avoiding insect stings:

  • Wear light-colored clothing and skip flowery perfume, so bees don’t mistake you for a flower.
  • Keep food and drinks covered. Check drinks before sipping to make sure no insect is inside your cup or soda can.
  • Picnic as far away from trash cans as possible.
  • If you do find bees or yellow jackets flying around you, walk away slowly. Do not swat or try to hit them.
  • Steer clear of fire ant nests. The mounds of dirt up to 12 inches high usually occur in southern states.

Allergy & Asthma Network Mothers of  Asthmatics is a leading nonprofit patient education organization for people with allergies, asthma and anaphylaxis.

For more information: Allergy & Asthma Network Mothers of Asthmatics,; Allergy Guide: Alternative & Conventional Solutions, (See the books tab of this website.)

This post is written by Elizabeth S. Smoots, MD. Dr. Smoots’ blog is not intended as a substitute for medical advice or treatment. Before adhering to any recommendations in this blog consult your healthcare provider. ©2012 Elizabeth S. Smoots, MD, LLC.
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