When individuals are stung by a flying insect, such as a bee, hornet, or wasp they may develop a localized reaction. The reaction may consist of swelling, redness, and itchiness at the site of the sting. This is not an allergic reaction. If you are allergic to the venom of a flying insect you may develop symptoms such as swelling tongue, hives, throat closure, difficulty breathing, or shortness of breath. In some serious cases individuals go into anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis is a serious, life threatening allergic reaction.
So what do you do when you get stung? You need to remain calm. Take the stinger and the venom sac out of your skin. According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology you need to remove the stinger within 30 seconds after you are stung. This will reduce the chance of more venom entering into your body. Keep the body part that was stung elevated and you can also apply ice to the area that was stung. These precautions will help reduce swelling and pain. It’s always good to clean the site of the sting. It will help reduce the chance of infection. After monitoring the sting for a few hours if it looks like it is becoming infected seek medical attention. To relieve itching from the sting you could apply an anti-itch cream to your arm such as Hydrocortisone and/or take an antihistamine such as Zyrtec, Allegra, or Claritin.
If you are allergic to venom stings always carry injectable epinephrine with you. Never hesitate to use injectable epinephrine if you are stung and begin to have symptoms, however you do need to seek medical attention after administering epinephrine. Go to the nearest emergency room or urgent care after administering it.
To learn more about venom stings visit our office or call 801-775-9800.