Stinging Insect Allergies
However, if the youth gets swelling (even a large amount), hives, abdominal cramping, diarrhea or itching, he is not considered at risk of a potentially fatal reaction.
In an adult, “anybody who’s had a reaction to a sting that’s remote from the area of the sting is potentially at risk of having a life-threatening reaction,” says Vadas. Hives, breathing difficulties, swelling of lips or tongue, dizziness or fainting are all remote reactions that increase the risk.
Do your best to minimize exposure to the dangerous insects. “Don’t look like a flower; don’t smell like a flower,” says Vadas. This means don’t wear brightly coloured clothing or cologne that could attract stinging insects. Also, avoid eating outdoors, and if you must, eat quickly and keep food tightly covered until serving, and use lids on drinks.
Once an allergist has said you are at risk of a life-threatening reaction, you must carry an epinephrine auto-injector at all times and wear MedicAlert identification. If you suspect you have this allergy and haven’t seen an allergist, do so.
If at Risk of Anaphylaxis: if you’ve had a serious allergic reaction to a sting, you may well prove a suitable candidate for venom immunotherapy. “Venom immunotherapy is 98 per cent effective,” says Vadas.
These allergy shots can desensitize you to the allergen and reduce your risk, usually 20 to 60 per cent, down to 2 per cent, the same level as the general population. New (2011) practice parameters for allergists highly recommend these shots for those at heightened risk of sting anaphylaxis.
- Grass Allergy – when you and the lawn don’t get along.
- The Hay Fever Handbook – all you need to know.
Copyright Allergic Living magazine. To subscribe or renew click here.