Part 2: Serious Stings and Treatments

Last month we talked about the normal stings, their reactions and treatments. We see these stings quite often and they may hurt and frustrate you but it’s mainly something we all have to deal with. However, some people might not have a “normal reaction,” in that case, please read below about the serious stings and treatments.

Serious Sting Reactions

Some people become sensitive to insects stings and may be at risk for serious or life threatening reactions.  Symptoms that suggest serious sensitivity usually start within minutes of the sting and include:

Hives or itchy rash all over

Giant swelling distant from the site of the sting, like face, lips, tongue

Trouble breathing, coughing, wheezing or shortness of breath

Throat tightness, airflow blockage, hoarseness or trouble swallowing

Rapid pulse, dizziness, fainting or shock

Anyone experiencing these symptoms after a sting should call 911 for immediate help and transfer to an emergency room.  A person who has had a serious reaction to a sting should always carry auto injectable epinephrine (EpiPen) with them at all times.  Epinephrine stops progression of a reaction and begins to reverse symptoms within minutes.  The quicker epinephrine is given, the less likely a severe reaction.

Treatment

Remove stinger if present and apply icepack

Inject EpiPen, this may be repeated in 10 minutes if not improving

Call 911 or immediately transport to emergency room

Take Benadryl or over the counter antihistamine for itching.  Benadryl is not a substitute for epinephrine and will not stop a serious reaction

Anyone with a history of a serious allergic reaction to a stinging insect should see a Board Certified Allergist for evaluation.  Allergists are experts in advice about avoiding stings and treatment of reactions. Allergy testing can determine sensitivity and the potential for future serious reactions. A sensitive person who has experienced a serious reaction has a 60 percent or greater chance of a serious reaction with future stings.

Fortunately allergy shots for stinging insects can reduce the chance of future reactions to less than 5 percent.


– Come see one of our allergists

– Get tested

– Know what to do in case of a reaction in the future

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Allergy and Asthma Center of Austin offers and maintains this web site to provide information of a general nature about the practice and conditions requiring the services of an allergist. The information is provided with the understanding that Allergy and Asthma Center of Austin is not engaged in rendering surgical or medical advice or recommendations via this website. Any information in the publications, messages, postings or articles on this web site should not be considered a substitute for consultation with your physician to address individual medical needs. Individual facts and circumstances will determine the treatment that is most appropriate.

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