Most insect stings do not produce an allergic reaction and are not a cause for concern. For some people, however, certain types of insect stings or bites – such as those from honeybees, hornets, wasps, yellow jackets, or fire ants – can trigger an allergic reaction. This reaction can vary from a mild reaction localized to the sting/bite site, to a severe reaction requiring urgent medical help.
Whenever a person gets stung or bitten by an insect, the venom or poison that is simultaneously injected into the body by the insect can cause signs and symptoms to let you know that you were indeed stung. These signs include pain, redness, swelling, warmth, itchiness, and pimple-type spots at the site of the sting. An allergic reaction to an insect sting goes beyond this and can cause problems with breathing.
A normal reaction to a sting causes symptoms which are usually localized around the sting site. Some people may experience a larger local reaction which can cause swelling and redness that extend beyond the sting site – such as if you are stung on the elbow, you may experience swelling of the entire arm. Although this can cause alarm, it is often a normal reaction to a sting.
Larger local reactions tend to peak at around 48 hours but should gradually get better within several days. Let’s talk about the signs to look out for in order to help you decide when medical intervention is necessary after getting bitten or stung by an insect.
Signs of an Insect Sting Allergy
For people who have stinging insect allergies, the insect venom can cause a severe, possibly life-threatening anaphylactic reaction requiring immediate medical help; an anaphylactic reaction affects your ability to breathe, so it is imperative to call 911 right away. An allergic reaction to an insect sting may involve your whole body and can start very quickly after you are stung.
These allergy symptoms can include:
- Skin flushing
- Stomach cramps
- Shortness of breath
- Sharp drop in blood pressure
An anaphylactic reaction can cause the tongue to swell, breathing difficulties, a loss of consciousness, and even death if emergency medical treatment is not immediately administered. If you are unsure about whether the reaction to an insect sting is an allergic reaction, it is best to be safe and seek medical attention immediately.
Treatment of Insect Stings and Allergies in Oak Brook, Illinois
Make sure you and your whole family are protected against insect sting allergies by seeing the allergy professionals at Oak Brook Allergists today. Our board-certified allergists can offer allergy testing which can begin on your very first visit, and we will advise you of the necessary measures you can take to prevent future allergic reactions – including venom immunotherapy.
For more information about our medical services, or to book an appointment with an allergy doctor at one of our four convenient locations in northeast Illinois, call us today at (630) 574-0460 or you can request an appointment via our online form. We look forward to helping you and your family get a handle on your insect allergies so you don’t have to let your allergy control you!