Children & Bee Stings
Protective Shots Lower Risk, Research Shows
WebMD News Archive
The Buzz on Bee Stings continued...
Some 40% of the participants had been stung again after their
initial sting. Moderate reactions to stings included throat and chest
discomfort, difficulty breathing, dizziness, and low blood pressure. A reaction
was considered severe in cases involving serious breathing difficulties, severe
dizziness, marked low blood pressure, or unconsciousness.
Roughly a third of the untreated adults who had experienced
moderate to severe reactions as children had similar reactions to later stings,
compared with one in 20 treated adults.
See a Specialist
Golden says the findings make it clear that venom immunotherapy
is a good idea for children with a history of moderate to severe allergic
"The message to pediatricians is that their patients who
have had these reactions need to be referred to a specialist for evaluation and
treatment," Golden says. "And the message for doctors treating adults
is that it is important to know a patient's history. They need to understand
that a 30-year-old who tells you he had a bad reaction to a bee sting as a kid
may still be at risk."
In an editorial accompanying the study, Rebecca Gunchalla, MD,
PhD, writes that the new findings disprove the notion that immunotherapy is not
needed in children because they outgrow sting allergies.
"It is to be hoped that now, with hard data provided,
physicians will be able to move beyond misconceptions and support the use of
venom immunotherapy for the children most at risk," she writes.
In an interview with WebMD, Gunchalla says evaluation by a
specialist is important for any child who exhibits abnormal reactions to
stings. Gunchalla is chief of the allergy division of internal medicine and
associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Texas Southwestern
Medical Center in Dallas.
"If a child shows signs of anaphylactic shock, it is an
easy call, but there may be nothing more than some coughing and some chest
tightening," she says. "Even so, it is important to see a specialist
for anything more serious than normal skin reactions."