Understanding Normal And Allergic Reactions To Insect Stings

If you spend time in the outdoors, then it is important for you to know which insects' stings can cause severe allergic reactions. By knowing the difference between a normal reaction and that of an allergic reaction, you can act quickly to prevent a severe reaction from becoming fatal.

The Stinging Insects that can Cause Anaphylactic Shock

There are only five insects in North America that can cause a person to have a severe reaction and go into anaphylactic shock from their sting. These insects are the following:

  • fire ants
  • honeybees
  • hornets
  • yellow jackets
  • wasps

The reaction to the sting is from the venom that the insect injects into your body when it stings you. The reaction you have will vary in severity from one person to another, and multiple stings can cause cumulative reactions. 

Symptoms of a Normal Reaction to an Insect Sting

It is normal for everyone to have a mild reaction to an insect sting.  The site of the insect sting will be red, sore, swollen, and as it heals it may become itchy. This type of insect sting reaction is not harmful and there is generally no need to visit your doctor. The most effective way to reduce the pain and swelling is to apply an ice pack to the area.

Symptoms of an Allergic Reaction to an Insect Sting

While a normal reaction to an insect sting is painful, an allergic reaction can be fatal. When you have an allergic reaction to an insect sting, you may feel lightheaded, have a large swollen area, or in the case of anaphylactic shock, you may not be able to breathe. 

If you believe you are having an allergic reaction to an insect sting, then you need to go to the emergency room or call 911 for assistance.

Prevention of Insect Sting Allergic Reactions

Finally, the best way to prevent having an allergic reaction to an insect sting is to avoid coming into contact with any of the insect species listed above. Planting non-flowering vegetation around your home and limiting standing water in birdbaths will help to reduce the number of bees and wasps that will be attracted to your yard.

Additionally, your allergy physician can treat your allergic reactions with immunotherapy designed to lower their severity, and they can prescribe an epinepherine pen to carry with you in the case that you are stung and have a severe reaction.

To learn more, visit a website like http://www.oakbrookallergists.com.

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