Arnold, MD

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Stinging Insect Venom Allergy (bee sting allergy)

This allergy afflicts far more adults than children. There are well established guidelines for who should be tested, based on the nature of the reaction.  Intense swelling around the site of the sting does not warrant allergy testing, but an adult’s history of hives distant from the sting site is enough to justify allergy assessment.  Testing is indicated at any age if there are acute respiratory, gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, or central nervous systems symptoms following a sting.  Skin testing is accomplished for honey bee, yellow jacket, hornets and wasp.

More than 500,000 people enter hospital emergency rooms every year suffering from insect stings.  The majority of insect stings in the United States come from wasps, yellow jackets, hornets and bees.

The severity of an insect sting reaction varies from person to person.  People who have an allergic reaction to an insect sting have a 60% chance of a similar or worse reaction if stung again.

The long-term treatment of insect sting allergy is called venom immunotherapy, a highly effective program administered by an allergiest, which can prevent future allergice reactions to insect stings.

If you think you might be allergic to insect stings, talk to your allergist.  Based on your past history and certain tests, the allergist will determine if you are a candidate for skin testing and immunotherapy.

Information provided with the expressed consent of The American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.