Allergy to Wasps – Bees and Ants
Hymenoptera stings account for more deaths in the United States than any other envenomation. The order Hymenoptera includes Apis species, ie, bees (European, African), vespids (wasps, yellow jackets, hornets), and ants. Although most deaths result from immunologic mechanisms, some are from direct toxicity.
Anyone can become allergic to bee and wasp stings, but those most likely to become bee allergic are bee keepers, gardeners, and outdoor workers.
Insect stings are more common in children, but children appear to be less likely to experience severe reactions.
1. Localised reactions
Swelling at the site of the sting, and last for more than 24 hours. These reactions are more common in children than in adults.
2. Mild systemic reactions
These reactions are characterised by skin swelling and hives in an area of skin remote from the sting. In older children and adults, such reactions are considered to be a risk factor for a future severe reaction.
3. Moderate / severe systemic reactions (Anaphylaxis)
Any or all of the following symptoms may be present:
- Swelling of throat and mouth
- Difficulty in swallowing or speaking
- Difficulty in breathing – due to severe asthma or throat swelling
- Hives anywhere on the body, especially large hives
- Generalised flushing of the skin
- Abdominal cramps, nausea and vomiting
- Sudden feeling of weakness (drop in blood pressure)
- Collapse and unconsciousness
The symptoms of anaphylaxis occur due to release of histamine and other mediators. It can affect the whole body, and in particular, the breathing and blood circulation.
Stinging insect allergy Diagnosis
1. History and physical.
2. Immune cap (RAST) tests
3. Allergy skin test
Treatment of stinging insect allergy
Adrenaline injection. Epipen
Long term treatment:
Allergy test and desensitization injections.
Wear medical alert
Keep Epipen at hand.