Allergen: Insect StingsAlergenos: Picaduras de Insectos

Allergen: Insect Stings

The insects that sting

Insects that are members of the Hymenoptera family most commonly cause allergic reactions. These include:

  • Bees

  • Wasps

  • Hornets

  • Yellow jackets

  • Fire ants

Allergic reactions to insect stings

The reactions are usually at the site of the sting, with redness, swelling, pain and itching. Generally, the reaction lasts only a few hours, although some may last longer.

For some people, allergic reactions to insect stings can be life-threatening. The reaction is called anaphylaxis and can include severe symptoms such as:

  • Itching and hives over most of the body

  • Swelling of the throat and tongue

  • Difficulty breathing and tightness in the chest

  • Dizziness

  • Headache

  • Stomach cramps, nausea, or diarrhea

  • Rapid fall in blood pressure

  • Shock

  • Loss of consciousness

Immediate medical attention is required.

Preventing stings

Preventive measures include:

  • Keep food covered when eating outdoors.

  • Be careful with open drink bottles, or cans. Insects can fly or crawl inside them.

  • Avoid perfumes, hair products, and deodorants.

  • Avoid wearing bright, flowered clothing. 

  • Avoid going barefoot, and wearing sandals in grassy areas.

  • When gardening, watch for nests in trees, shrubs, and flower beds.

  • Be careful near swimming pools, woodpiles, under eaves of houses, and trash containers.

Treatment for stings

Suggestions for treatment for highly allergic people include:

  • Immediately remove the stinger by scraping it with a fingernail. Do not squeeze the stinger, which may force the venom into the body.

  • Always carry epinephrine self-injections called Epi-pens. Make sure you and those close to you know how to use them.

  • With severe symptoms, get emergency treatment as soon as possible.

Talk with your health care provider  about getting an epinephrine self-injector if you don't already have one. Ask about whether you need immunotherapy or allergy shots.

 
Today's Interactive Tools
Related Items

The third-party content provided in the Health Library of phoebeputney.com is for informational purposes only and is not designed to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease, or replace the professional medical advice you receive from your physician. If you or your child has or suspect you may have a health problem, please consult your primary care physician. If you or your child may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 or other emergency health care provider immediately in the United States or the appropriate health agency of your country. For more information regarding site usage, please visit: Privacy Information, Terms of Use or Disclaimer.