When you are
stung by an insect, poisons and other toxins enter your skin. It's normal to
have some swelling, redness, pain, and itching around the sting. But you may
allergic reaction if your
immune system reacts strongly to
allergens in the sting.
You probably won't have a severe allergic reaction the first time you are stung. But even if
your first reaction to a sting is mild, allergic reactions can get worse with
each sting. Your next reaction may be more severe or even deadly.
It's hard enough to cope with allergies on the weekend, but dealing with
allergies at work is even more challenging.
Ask anyone who's ever dozed off in the middle of an important meeting
because of allergy symptoms or medications.
"Allergy symptoms are the No. 2 reason adults miss work," says James
Sublett, MD, a board-certified asthma and allergy specialist in Louisville,
The average worker with allergies misses about one hour per week over the
course of a year. But that sick time is...
Anaphylaxis, which is a severe, life-threatening reaction that requires emergency treatment. It causes confusion, trouble breathing, and other symptoms.
How are allergies to insect stings diagnosed?
doctor may do a physical exam and ask you questions about your symptoms and
past health. He or she also may want you to have allergy tests after you get
better from the allergic reaction. Allergy tests, such as skin prick tests or blood tests, can help you find out which
types of insect stings you are most allergic to.
How are they treated?
When you are stung
For a severe reaction, such as confusion and trouble breathing:
If you have epinephrine, give yourself a shot. Then go to the emergency room.
For a large, local reaction or a mild reaction, you can typically treat it at home.
Use an ice pack to reduce
swelling. If you can, raise the body part where you were stung.