Being one of the most common outdoor injuries, insect stings plague numerous people every year. Bee stings compose the majority of insect stings. Yellow jacket, wasp, hornet, and honeybee stings are collectively referred to as bee stings by most people. Stings can result in small localized reactions to a generalized, life-threatening condition known as anaphylaxis.
Interestingly, not everyone who is allergic to one type of bee sting will react to stings by other insects. For example, someone allergic to honeybees may not be allergic to stings from wasps, hornets, or yellow jackets. However, people allergic to yellow jackets are very likely to be allergic to hornets because of the similarity of the allergens in the two insects’ venoms. Likewise, roughly 50-percent of people allergic to yellow jackets are also allergic to wasp venom.
Localized skin reactions are the most common reaction experienced by insect sting victims. Most localized reactions appear as redness and swelling around the site of the sting. Oral antihistamines and corticosteroids are most likely to help relieve symptoms especially if initiated within the first two hours after the sting.
Unfortunately, at least 50 people annually die from insect stings. Typically, these patients have systemic reactions to the insect venom. Symptoms may include throat swelling, difficulty breathing, wheezing and a widespread rash. Emergent treatment with epinephrine following the onset of symptoms may help relieve symptoms. Epinephrine can be delivered by an auto-injection device such as an Epi-pen. Emergency room evaluation should also be sought. Following acute treatment for systemic insect sting reactions, consultation from an allergist should be sought for possible immunotherapy to the insect venom. As always, please see your personal physician if you have any concerns or questions regarding insect stings.... read the rest of the story by Subscribing now.