Insect Sting Hypersensivity

  • An adverse allergic reaction to the venom of stinging insects including honey bee, hornets, yellow jackets, wasps and fire ants.
  • Insect stings can cause severe life-threatening reactions and are difficult to avoid.
  • Symptoms that are life-threatening include shortness of breath, chest tightness, wheezing, flushing, hypotension (dizziness and/or lightheadedness), vomiting and nausea.
  • Children less than 16 years of age, with only skin reactions (hives) are not at a higher risk of developing severe reactions so testing or treatment may not be required.
  • Adults with skin reactions (hives) have an increased risk of further life-threatening reactions and should be tested and treated.
  • Although having and using an epinephrine auto-injector is important, patients need to be tested and treated in order to prevent any further reactions.
  • The standard of care is venom immunotherapy, commonly known as allergy shots.
  • Venom immunotherapy decreases the likelihood of an allergic reaction from re-stings by 95-99%.
  • Allergists help identify venom hypersensitivity and administer venom immunotherapy.

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