Most people will develop pain, irritation, and erythema at the site of a sting or bite from a venomous insect such as a bee, wasp, hornet, or yellow jacket. However if you have an allergy to stinging insects this can develop into a more serious reaction, known as anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis can cause symptoms of difficulty breathing, swelling in the tongue or throat, hives, chest tightness, vomiting, diarrhea, dizziness, or passing out, as well as other symptoms not listed.
Here are a few tips to help avoid these insects and help you enjoy the warm weather.
- Avoid eating or drinking outside, however if you are, make sure all containers have tight fitting lids and are closed when not in use.
- Make sure all garbage cans have lids and are closed when not in use.
- Avoid wearing bright colors, or being near bright colored objects (don’t dress like a flower).
- If a flying insect is around you, hold still. Do not swat at it as some flying insects will become aggressive if they feel they are being threatened.
If you do get stung, remain calm. You will need to remove the stinger from the site if it is still there. This should be done within 30 seconds of being stung, to reduce the risk of more venom being introduced. Do not use tweezers to remove the stinger as this can apply pressure to the venom sac and push more venom into your body. Elevate the site of the sting, apply ice, and use topical anti itch creams or oral antihistamines such as Allegra, Zyrtec, or Claritin to help relieve symptoms of pain or itching.
If you do have a venom allergy, make sure to always carry your epinephrine auto injector and never wait to use it if you are stung and start to develop symptoms and seek immediate medical attention.
There is effective treatment for venom allergy that can reduce or eliminate your risk of reaction on stings. This treatment is called venom immunotherapy.