Understanding The Different Allergic Reactions To Insect Bites
For many people, summer includes spending more time outside, which means an increased exposure to insects. Although the venom of stinging insects, such as bees and wasps, will cause some type of reaction in just about everyone, other people will experience very severe or even life-threatening reactions. It’s important for parents and families to be able to identify the difference between these kinds of reactions, and know when to seek professional help. Allergy doctors are an excellent resource for learning more about insect bite reactions and discussing your individual needs.
Common Bug Bite Reactions
It’s also helpful to learn to identify the insects that have venom that can cause reactions. These include hornets, wasps, yellow jackets, honey bees, and fire ants. In most cases, the stings or bites of these insects will include pain or discomfort. Some amount of swelling and redness is also very common as the body responds to the poison and works to filter it out. These types of mild or common reactions can be treated at home with ice, other comfort measures, and over the counter antihistamines, and do not warrant a visit to a Chandler allergist unless the problem persists.
Critical Insect Bite Or Sting Reactions
While most people have manageable reactions to insect bites, some people have allergic reactions that are much more severe and may need longer term care from a Queen Creek allergy expert. It’s imperative to seek immediate medical attention from an emergency room if you or your child experiences any of the following symptoms:
- Hives, a distinctive skin rash from an allergic reaction, in a place on the body other than where the sting or bite occurred
- Itching and swelling in areas of the body other than the sting site, especially the face or throat
- Abdominal cramping, vomiting, severe nausea, or diarrhea
- Tightness in the chest or difficulty breathing
- Your voice becomes hoarse
- Swelling of the tongue or throat or difficulty swallowing
The most severe allergic reaction is called anaphylaxis. It may occur within minutes of the sting or bite and can be life-threatening. Symptoms include facial swelling, nausea, vomiting, and difficulty breathing. The person may also experience dizziness, a sharp drop in blood pressure, loss of consciousness, or even cardiac arrest. In cases of anaphylaxis, immediate medical attention is required. Usually, epinephrine will be administered to reduce the severity of the reaction. After emergency care has been received, a Mesa allergy doctor can provide care to the patient and may prescribe an epinephrine injection (commonly known as “Epi Pen”) to help in case the reaction occurs again.
A person who has experienced an allergic reaction to an insect sting or bite has a 60% chance of having a similar to worse reaction if stung again. Care from a Chandler allergist is the best way to reduce the severity of reactions in the future and be prepared in case it happens again.
Treatments For Severe Insect Bite Allergic Reactions
Gilbert allergy experts can help patients in a number of ways. First, they can perform testing for insect venom allergy so that the person is aware of which insects to especially avoid. Secondly, Mesa allergists can administer allergen immunotherapy, which are shots for people who test positive for insect venom allergies. Allergen immunotherapy is a highly effective therapy that will help prevent future reactions from occurring. The shots contain gradually increasing amounts of the substance to which the person is allergic – in this case, the venom of the specific insect. As the doses incrementally increase, the body is trained to become less sensitive to the substance so that future reactions are reduced or eliminated.
Before you or your child starts allergen immunotherapy, your Gilbert allergist will work with you to identify the specific trigger factors for allergy symptoms. This may include skin and sometimes blood tests to determine the specific allergens to which your body is making antibodies. Usually, immunotherapy is the recommended treatment when someone is selectively sensitive to multiple allergens.
In addition to allergy shots, everyone who has a history of anaphylaxis or severe insect bite reaction should ask their Mesa allergy doctor for an emergency epinephrine injector. Epinephrine should be given as soon as a reaction begins; immediately afterward, the allergic person should be taken to the ER or should call 911 for additional assistance and potentially life-saving intervention.
Visit a Top-Rated Mesa Allergy Clinic!
If you have experienced a severe allergic reaction to an insect bite or sting, schedule an appointment with the Chandler allergy experts at San Tan Allergy and Asthma. Our qualified and compassionate doctors are ready to help you identify your allergies and provide a personalized treatment plan to help you live a more comfortable life. Don’t wait, contact us today to get started!