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- Stinging insect allergy facts
- What are stinging insects?
- What types of insect sting reactions occur?
- What are signs and symptoms of insect sting allergies?
- Who is at risk for insect sting allergies?
- What tests do doctors use to diagnose an insect sting allergy?
- What specialists treat insect sting allergies?
- What is the treatment for a severe allergic reaction?
- Are there home remedies for insect sting allergies?
- How can I avoid insect stings?
- What can I do about becoming immune to insect allergy?
- What is the prognosis for an insect sting allergy?
What types of insect sting reactions occur?
Most insect-sting reactions are not allergic and result in local pain, itching, swelling, and redness at the site of the sting. Some extension of the swelling is expected. Local treatment is usually all that is needed for this type of reaction. Disinfect the area, keep it clean, and apply ice. Topical corticosteroid creams are sometimes used to decrease inflammation, and antihistamines can help control itching.
Large local reactions may involve increased swelling (that lasts for 48 hours up to one week) that may be accompanied by nausea and vomiting. Large local reactions occur in about 10% of insect stings and are not allergic in origin. Occasionally, the site of an insect sting will become infected, and antibiotics are needed.
Systemic (body-wide) reactions are allergic responses and occur in people who have developed antibodies against the insect venom from a prior exposure. It is estimated that between 0.3%-3% of stings trigger a systemic allergic reaction.