WebMD reports that more than 2 million Americans are allergic to the poison from stinging insects. Duluth stinging insect allergy can put the lives of such people at risk. More than 45 deaths occur yearly due to allergic reactions caused by stinging insects, such as non-winged fire ants, wasps, hornets, honey bees, bumblebees, and yellow jackets.
An allergic reaction happens when your immune system, your body’s system that protects you from outside invaders, reacts strongly to the allergens or poison in the insect stings. Some common symptoms that may indicate you are allergic to stinging insects include redness and swelling occurring for more than two days and affecting a large section of your body, especially your arms and legs.
Moreover, you may have severe allergic reactions that may cause hives, anaphylaxis, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and inflammation of the tongue, throat, or other parts of your body, away from the sting area.
For instance, if you have an anaphylactic shock, the throat will tighten and become hoarse or scratchy. Other anaphylaxis symptoms may include breathing difficulty, severe stomach cramps, and lightheadedness.
Consequently, below are other things you may need to remember about stinging insect allergy.
- Testing for stinging insect allergy
If you have recently experienced an adverse reaction to an insect sting, ensure you go for an examination by an allergist. Your allergist will test you, which is essential to determine the right allergy treatment plan. For example, you may receive allergy shots or instructions for allergen avoidance.
Your allergist will subject you to a skin test. Skin tests involve extracting venom or poison from a particular stinging insect and placing it on your skin. Your doctor waits several minutes for the liquid extract to seep into your skin to see if you have an allergic reaction.
Additionally, your doctor may perform a blood test, which measures the amount of immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies unique to certain allergies. However, skin tests may be less effective than blood tests in diagnosing allergic reactions.
Your doctor may prescribe immunotherapy injections if you have a stinging insect allergy.
- Prevention of insect stings
The smell of food and certain drinks often attracts insects to your home. Therefore, always keep your foods covered during cooking and eating. Also, discard leftovers in a way that they cannot attract insects, and do not leave foods that you feed your pets lying around.
Moreover, because some insects, such as fruit flies, like to invade fruit trees or trash cans, always cover your trash and keep the trash area properly cleaned.
Prune trees that may have leaves and branches leaning against the structures of your home, and use insecticides to keep stinging insects away.
- Treating an insect sting
You can prevent the harmful effect of insect poison by removing the stinger from your skin. A honeybee sting often leaves a stinger because it takes time to inject all the venom into the skin.
Use your fingernail to scratch the sting area to enable the removal of the sac and stinger. Do not squeeze the sac, as that can cause more skin exposure to poison.
Contact Allergy and Asthma Institute, LLC today to schedule an appointment with a stinging insect allergy specialist.