Insect Sting Allergy

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Insect sting allergy
Last updated: Wednesday, August 17, 2011


An allergic acknowledgment to an insect chaw occurs if the allowed arrangement overreacts to the insect’s venom. The leukocytes (white claret cells) of an allergic abandoned aftermath an antibiotic alleged immunoglobulin E (IgE), which attaches to the protein in the venom. This triggers the absolution of histamine and added chemicals that could could could could could could could could could cause allergic symptoms, which generally cover redness, abscess and agog at the website of the sting.

About 15% of adults in the United States display mild, localized allergic reactions to insect stings. For a baby bulk of humans who are acutely allergic to insect venom, insect stings can be activity threatening. Added than 500,000 humans access hospital emergency apartment every year as a aftereffect of insect stings. A astringent allergic acknowledgment accepted as anaphylaxis occurs in 0.5-5% of the U.S. citizenry as a aftereffect of insect stings. Insect chaw anaphylaxis causes at atomic 40 deaths in the United States anniversary year.

The honeybee, yellowjacket, cardboard wasp, white-faced hornet (bald-faced hornet) and blaze ant are a part of the a lot of accepted insects that activate insect chaw allergies. Since the stinger is a adapted egg-laying apparatus, abandoned females can sting.


Honeybee: Honeybees are a subset of bees, which abatement into the Adjustment Hymenoptera and Suborder Apocrita. Out of the 20,000 accepted breed of bees, four are advised honeybees –

Apis florea, Apis dorsata, Apis cerana and Apis mellifera. The honeybee is covered with short, close hair, usually golden-brown and black, and it has a striped abdomen. They are about begin abreast flowers and beginning trees. Honeybees are abundant beneath advancing than wasps and hornets.

Yellowjacket: Yellowjackets are black-and-yellow wasps of the brand Vespula or Dolichovespula. They can be articular by their characteristic aggregate of black-and-yellow color, baby admeasurement (slightly beyond than a bee) and absolutely atramentous antennae. They are admiring to beastly food, including fruit, amoroso and meat. Yellowjackets are the a lot of accustomed in the south.

Paper wasp: Cardboard wasps accord to the ancestors Vespidae. They are arenaceous chicken to aphotic amber or atramentous in color, and they accept little to no hair. They accomplish baby umbrella-shaped combs, which adhere angular in adequate spaces like eaves, clay cavities or attics.

White-faced hornet (bald-faced hornet): The white-faced hornet is not a accurate hornet. It is added carefully accompanying to addition blazon of wasp alleged the yellowjacket than it is to hornets like the European hornet. It belongs to the Vespidae family. These advancing insects physique ample cardboard nests that adhere upside down from timberline branches.

Fire ant: Blaze all-overs backup in the soil, usually abreast clammy areas such as riverbanks, pond edges and watered lawns. A individual backup is usually beneath than a aboveboard yard, and it may accept several baby openings on the surface. Blaze all-overs accept a coppery-brown arch and body, with a darker abdomen. The all-overs can be acclaimed by their advancing behavior, abnormally abreast the nest. Blaze all-overs augment mostly on adolescent plants, seeds and sometimes crickets. Blaze all-overs are the a lot of accustomed in the south.


Symptoms alter from getting to getting and from insect to insect. Redness, abscess and agog at the website of the chaw are the a lot of accepted symptoms. Some individuals acquaintance a ample bulk of abscess abreast the website of the sting.

Fire all-overs could could could could could could could could could cause an allergic acknowledgment in about everyone. Acquisitive sores usually anatomy anon at the website of the chaw and boring bright up afterwards an hour. Afterwards about four hours, a baby abscess forms at anniversary chaw site. Amid eight and 24 hours later, a small, pus-filled abscessed forms. The breadth about the abscessed may bake and itch. The abscessed will breach aural 72 hours. The itching, affliction and bloom may endure several days, but should gradually improve. If redness, affliction or abscess becomes worse, it may be a assurance of infection and a healthcare provider should be consulted.

The allergic reactions of adults and accouchement should be evaluated differently. For instance, analysis shows that accouchement who acquaintance derma reactions like hives or abscess to an insect chaw are not at high-risk for life-threatening reactions. However, adults who acquaintance added than a bounded acknowledgment should be evaluated for insect abhorrence and accede immunotherapy if they are allergic.


For a baby bulk of humans who are acutely allergic to insect venom, insect stings can could could could could could could could could could cause a life-threatening acknowledgment accepted as anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis is a systemic reaction, which agency that abounding locations of the physique are affected.

The time blooper amid the insect chaw and anaphylactic affection varies a part of individuals. Affection can appear anon or can be delayed from 30 account to one hour afterwards exposure. Affection may aswell abandon and again recur hours later. Once affection arise, they advance quickly.

Symptoms of anaphylaxis can alter from balmy to astringent and are potentially deadly. The a lot of alarming affection are low claret pressure, animation difficulties, shock and accident of consciousness, all of which can be fatal.

Symptoms of anaphylaxis may cover agog and hives over ample areas of the body, abscess in the throat or tongue, adversity breathing, dizziness, diarrhea, abdomen cramps, chest affliction or tightness, cardiac arrest, aside pulse, flushing, angioedema (swelling beneath the skin), agitation swallowing, respiratory arrest, rash, acquisitive mouth/throat, anxiety, hay fever-like symptoms, red/itchy/watery eyes, headache, abhorrence or diarrhea. Histamine can abet vasodilatation of arterioles and binding of bronchioles in the lungs, aswell accepted as bronchospasm. In astringent cases, a accelerated bead in claret burden may could could could could could could could could could cause shock and accident of consciousness.

Anaphylaxis is a medical emergency and analysis accept to be administered as anon as possible. Epinephrine is a medication acclimated to amusement astringent allergic reactions that can aftereffect in anaphylaxis. Administering the epinephrine as anon as accessible improves the affairs of adaptation and a quick recovery. Epinephrine opens the airways and raises the claret burden by constricting claret vessels. Patients may aswell be accepted to the hospital to accept their claret burden monitored and to possibly accept animation support.

Other emergency interventions may aswell cover endotracheal intubation (placing a tube through the adenoids or aperture into the airway) or emergency anaplasty to abode a tube anon into the trachea (tracheostomy or cricothyrotomy).

Hypotension (low claret pressure) is usually advised with intravenous fluids and sometimes with vasoconstrictive medications aswell referred to as “pressors.”

Bronchodilator drugs like Albuterol© are acclimated to amusement bronchospasm.

After epinephrine and/or added lifesaving measures are taken, antihistamines (like diphenhydramine) and corticosteroids (like prednisone) may be accustomed to added abate symptoms.

Individuals with a history of anaphylaxis should backpack an autoinjectable epinephrine accessory (known as an EpiPen©) with them at all times.


A baneful acknowledgment can could could could could could could could could could cause affection agnate to those of an allergic reaction, including nausea, fever, abscess at the chaw site, fainting, seizures, shock and even death. A baneful acknowledgment occurs if the insect acidity acts like a adulteration in the body. This acknowledgment may appear afterwards abandoned one sting, but it usually takes abounding stings from insects that are not commonly advised poisonous.

Symptoms alter depending on the blazon of insect, the toxicity of the acidity and the bulk of acidity injected. Affection may cover diarrhea, fever, weakness, lightheadedness, accelerated abscess at the website of the sting, beef spasm, headache, drowsiness, fainting, seizures, abhorrence and vomiting. In a lot of cases, affection boldness aural 48 hours. Baneful reactions are rarely serious, but they occasionally sensitize children, authoritative them decumbent to approaching allergic reactions.

A life-threatening baneful acknowledgment can action afterwards added than 50 stings in accouchement and afterwards 100-500 in adults. Individuals should seek medical advice anon if affection are severe. In astringent cases, patients may be advised with epinephrine.

It is accessible to accept both a baneful acknowledgment and an allergic acknowledgment at the aforementioned time.


Serum affection is a attenuate acknowledgment to a adopted actuality in the physique that can could could could could could could could could could cause affection hours or canicule afterwards the sting. Patients may acquaintance fever, collective pain, hives and flu-like symptoms. Patients who acquaintance affection of serum affection should argue a able healthcare provider. Patients who accept serum affection usually balance absolutely aural 7-28 days.

Antihistamines like diphenhydramine HCL (Benadryl©) may be acclimated to abate agog that is associated with serum sickness. Corticosteroids like prednisone (Deltasone©, Orasone© or Sterapred©) accept been acclimated to abate deepening associated with serum sickness. Analysis usually lasts about two weeks. Doses should gradually abatement as affection bright up. Affection may reappear in astringent cases if steroids are chock-full too quickly. NSAIDs like ibuprofen (Motrin© or Advil©) may be acclimated to abatement deepening and abate fever.


Local allergic reaction: Elevate the afflicted acme and administer ice or a algid abbreviate to abate abscess and pain. Gently apple-pie blisters or sores with soap and baptize to anticipate accessory infections. Do not breach blisters. Contemporary steroid ointments or articulate antihistamines like diphenhydramine HCL (Benadryl©) should abate itching. Argue a healthcare provider if abscess worsens or if the chaw website seems infected.

Honeybee sting: If honeybees sting, they leave their stingers behind. If the bee’s stinger is larboard axial the skin, abolish it aural 30 abnormal in adjustment to abstain arresting added venom. The stinger can calmly be removed by abrading it with a barb or plucking out with tweezers. Abstain binding the sac because it will force added acidity through the stinger and into the skin.

Hornets, wasps and chicken jackets: Hornets, wasps and chicken jackets do not leave their stingers axial the skin. Unlike honeybees, these insects do not die afterwards they sting, and they are able of acerbic assorted times. Remain calm and besom these insects from the derma promptly with advised movements to anticipate added stings.

Fire ant sting: Carefully besom the blaze all-overs off to anticipate again stings, and leave the area. Blaze ant stings usually could could could could could could could could could cause blisters to anatomy about 24 hours afterwards the sting. Up to 50% of patients advance ample bounded reactions at the website of blaze ant stings. Abscess may endure for several canicule and may be accompanied by itching, bloom and pain. Apple-pie the chaw sites with soap and baptize and do not breach the blisters. The sores will alleviate in seven to 10 days. Diabetics and individuals with circulatory disorders, including varicose veins and phlebitis, are at an added accident for complications and should argue a healthcare provider afterwards getting stung.

Epinephrine: Epinephrine is a medication acclimated to amusement astringent allergic reactions that aftereffect in anaphylaxis. Administering the epinephrine aboriginal in anaphylaxis improves the affairs of adaptation and a quick recovery. Individuals with a history of anaphylaxis should backpack an autoinjectable epinephrine (known as an EpiPen©) with them at all times. Afterwards administering an EpiPen©, patients should argue a healthcare provider.

H1 blazon antihistamine: H1 blazon antihistamine, like diphenhydramine (Benadryl©), is usually administered orally or injected into the bloodstream to abatement the histamine acknowledgment and abate the agog associated with insect stings.

H2 blazon antihistamine (H2-blocker): H2 blazon antihistamine (H2-blocker), like ranitidine, famotidine or cimetidine, may be administered to enhance the aftereffect of diphenhydramine.

Corticosteroids: Corticosteroids, like prednisone or methylprednisolone (Solu-Medrol©), are generally administered to advice abatement abscess and abolish the allowed response.



: Currently, there is bereft affirmation accessible on the assurance and capability of commutual therapies for the blockage or analysis of insect chaw allergy. Insect stings can could could could could could could could could could cause a life-threatening acknowledgment accepted as anaphylaxis. The commutual therapies listed beneath should be acclimated abandoned beneath the administration of a able healthcare provider, and should not be acclimated in backup of added accurate therapies or antitoxin measures.

Unclear or adverse accurate evidence



: Andiroba oils accept been commonly acclimated to accomplish insect repellant based soaps and candles.

Use carefully in patients with accepted allergies or accepted sensitivities to andiroba, Carapa spp., or its constituents. Abstain in patients with accepted dermatologic sensitivities, as able-bodied as in newborns and infants.


: Aboriginal studies accept adjourned the ability of catnip oil or its capacity as an insect abhorrent adjoin mosquitoes. These studies accept yielded able results, however, added analysis is bare to access added abstracts on the akin of capability of catnip oil for this application.

Avoid if allergic or acute to catnip, its constituents, or associates of the Lamiaceae family. Use carefully with psychiatric disorders or if demography medications that affect the axial afraid system. Abstain if abundant or breastfeeding.

Stinging nettle

: Limited accessible analytic abstraction has advised the capability of a contemporary aggregate artefact absolute acerbic annoy for insect bites. After-effects did not appearance a cogent abridgement in erythema or agog with the nettle-containing cream. Added well-designed analytic trials are appropriate afore a close cessation can be made.

Avoid if allergic or acute to nettle, the Urticaceae family, or any additive of annoy products. Use carefully with diabetes, bleeding disorders, and/or low sodium levels in the blood. Use carefully with diuretics and anti-inflammatories. The aged should aswell use annoy carefully because annoy may acutely abate claret pressure. Abstain if abundant because in one beastly study, annoy acquired uterine contractions. Abstain if breastfeeding due to bereft affirmation of safety.

Witch hazel

: A homeopathic conception absolute an abstract of witch chestnut and tinctures of added botanicals was advised for its furnishings in abating bloom and agog associated with mosquito bites. According to abstraction results, the conception did not accommodate able abatement from mosquito chaw symptoms. However, because advice about the backbone or absorption of the witch chestnut abstract acclimated was not available, and witch chestnut was not evaluated alone, abstracts about the furnishings of witch chestnut on affection of insect bites cannot be made. Added analysis is bare in this area.

Avoid if allergic or acute to witch hazel. Abstain if abundant or breastfeeding. Use carefully in humans with alarmist or branch disorders, diabetes, and in children.

Fair abrogating accurate evidence



: A allusive controlled balloon did not acquisition a clinically or statistically cogent aberration amid blaze ant bites advised with papain or placebo.

Use carefully in patients with bleeding disorders or demography anticoagulants or antiplatelets. Use carefully with radiation analysis or in patients getting advised for prostatitis. Abstain in patients with gastroesophageal abatement ache or in patients application immunosuppressive therapy. Abstain in patients allergic or acute to papain.

Traditional or abstract uses defective acceptable evidence


Apple cider vinegar

: Angel cider alkali has been acclimated commonly as a contemporary analysis for insect stings, including bee stings. Accurate affirmation acknowledging the use of angel cider alkali for insect bites is currently lacking.

Apple cider alkali is acceptable safe if taken by aperture as aliment flavoring. Use attention if allergic or acute to angel cider alkali or any of its capacity (like apples and pectin). Use attention with a history of low potassium levels, diabetes or osteoporosis. Abstain if abundant or breastfeeding.


: Based on anecdotal evidence, broiled chamomile flowers accept been added to ablution baptize as a contemporary analysis for insect bites. High superior analytic abstraction is bare in this area.

Avoid if allergic to chamomile. Anaphylaxis, throat swelling, derma allergic reactions and conciseness of animation accept been reported. Chamomile adulation can could could could could could could could could could cause allergic conjunctivitis (pinkeye). Stop use two weeks afore surgery/dental/diagnostic procedures with bleeding risk, and do not use anon afterwards these procedures. Use carefully if active or operating machinery. Abstain if abundant or breastfeeding.


Individuals with a history of anaphylaxis should backpack an autoinjectable epinephrine accessory (known as an EpiPen©) with them at all times.

To abstain acerbic insects, it is important to apprentice what they attending like and area they live.

Avoid cutting sandals or walking barefoot in the grass.

Never beat at the insect.

Do not alcohol from accessible cooler cans if outside. Acerbic insects are admiring to candied beverages and may clamber inside.

Avoid cutting bright-colored accouterment because acerbic insects are admiring to active colors.

  • American Academy of Abhorrence Asthma & Immunology. Accessed April 6, 2009.
  • Medem: Medical Library. Insect Stings. American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. View Article.
  • National Institute of Abhorrence and Infectious Diseases. Accessed April 6, 2009.
  • Nemours Foundation. Insect Stings and Bites. View Article.
  • Moffitt JE, Golden DB, Reisman RE, et al. Acerbic insect hypersensitivity: a convenance constant update. J Abhorrence Clin Immunol. 2004 Oct;114(4):869-86. View Abstract.

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