Insect stings typically result in pain, swelling and redness confined to the sting site. More severe reactions include symptoms appearing over a wider area (for example, swelling of your whole arm if you were stung on your wrist) or affecting other parts of the body from where the sting occurred.

Allergic reactions to stings can occur even after many normal reactions to stings and at any age. It has been estimated that potentially life-threatening allergic reactions to insect venom occur in 0.4 percent to 0.8 percent of children and 3 percent of adults. Insect sting reactions account for at least 40 deaths each year in the United States.

The majority of insect stings in the United States come from wasps, yellow jackets, hornets and bees. The red or black imported fire ant now infests more than 260 million acres in the southern United States, where it has become a significant health hazard and may be the number one agent of insect stings.

Insect Sting Allergy Symptoms

  • Pain
  • Redness
  • Swelling (in area of sting and sometimes beyond)
  • Flushing
  • Hives
  • Itching
  • Anaphylaxis (less common), a potentially life-threatening reaction that impairs breathing and can cause the body to go into shock

Insect Sting Allergy Management and Treatment

  • Avoid insects.
  • Immediately inject epinephrine (adrenaline) if symptoms of anaphylaxis develop.
  • Consider allergy shots (immunotherapy).

Source:  ACAAI

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