The severity of an insect sting allergy varies from one individual to another. When it comes to a normal reaction, it usually results to pain, redness and swelling that is limited to the sting site. It is important to disinfect the area and apply an ice pack to alleviate the swelling.
When it comes to a large local reaction, it results to swelling that spreads beyond the sting site. Even though this reaction is alarming in appearance, it is often managed in the same manner as a normal reaction. A painful or severe large local reaction might require medical care. Since the condition might persist for 2-3 days, corticosteroids and antihistamines can be given to reduce the discomfort.
What to expect from an insect sting allergy
Yellow jackets, fire ants, wasps and hornets can repeatedly sting. Take note that honeybees have hooked stingers that are left the skin. These stingers are ideally taken out by a scraping motion to prevent squeezing venom into the skin.
Almost all individuals stung by fire ants end up with an itchy, localized bump or hives at the site which settles within 30-60 minutes. A small-sized blister follows within 4 hours that might be filled with pus after 8-24 hours.
Dealing with an allergic reaction
An allergic reaction from an insect sting requires immediate medical care. The indications of an insect sting allergy might include one or several of the following:
- Abdominal pain, vomiting, nausea or diarrhea
- Hives, itchiness and swelling in other parts of the body
- Chest tightness and difficulty breathing
- Hoarse voice or swelling of the tongue or throat or difficulty swallowing
A severe reaction or anaphylaxis can arise within minutes after being stung and can be dangerous. A shot of epinephrine is usually administered as an auto-injector. Once a shot is given, the individual should be taken to a healthcare facility for further treatment.
The indications of anaphylaxis might include:
- Dizziness or an abrupt drop in the blood pressure
- Loss of consciousness or cardiac arrest
Individuals who experienced an allergic reaction to an insect sting face a higher likelihood of ending with a similar or even worse reaction if stung or bitten again.