WHAT ARE INSECT ALLERGIES?
An Insect Allergy is an immune sensitivity to the venom injected from the sting of insects, such as honeybees, hornets, wasps, yellow jackets and fire ants.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?
Insect stings can cause redness, swelling and pain. In some people, insect stings can trigger an immune response that can be life-threatening. Symptoms of an allergic reaction may include hives, itching and swelling in areas other than the sting site, abdominal cramping, vomiting and diarrhea, tightness in the chest and difficulty breathing or swelling of the tongue or throat. In even more extreme reaction, Anaphylaxis, can occur that could result in a dramatic drop in blood pressure, loss of consciousness and cardiac arrest.
HOW IS IT DIAGNOSED?
An Insect Allergy is suspected if a reaction occurs that is more systemic, affecting more areas of the body than the just the sting site. If you are concerned that you may have an allergy to an insect sting, you should see your Esse Health Gateway Asthma & Allergy Relief doctor. There are tests that can determine your level of reactivity. A skin prick test is when a small amount of insect venom is placed directly on the skin; then, a needle is used to create a small puncture wound that allows the venom to enter the body. How quickly your body reacts, and the extent of the reaction will indicate whether or not you have an allergy. Blood may also be drawn to check for the presence of antibodies to the venom.
WHAT ARE THE TREATMENT OPTIONS?
If it is determined that you do have an Insect Allergy, your doctor will explain the precautions you should take. Avoiding those areas that may have a larger population of stinging insects is a good practice. With the threat Anaphylaxis, a dose of epinephrine (adrenaline), typically administered in an auto-injector, should be carried at all times. The long-term treatment of an Insect Allergy is called venom immunotherapy, a highly effective program administered by an allergist, which can prevent future allergic reactions to insect stings. This therapy includes decreasing a patient's sensitivity to the venom by administering increasing doses of the venom over time.