Insect Sting Allergy
About Insect Sting Allergy
For a child who is allergic, insect stings can cause serious and sometimes even deadly reactions.
Insects that can trigger allergic reactions include honeybees, yellow jackets, hornets, wasps, and fire ants. When they sting, they inject venom into the skin.
Allergic reactions to stings usually don't occur when a child is stung for the first time. The reaction usually occurs when the child is stung for a second time, or even later.
If your child has been diagnosed with an insect sting allergy, keep injectable epinephrine on hand in case of a severe reaction. This is a medicine that your doctor can prescribe. Share emergency plans with anyone who cares for your child, including relatives and school officials. Also consider having your child wear a medical alert bracelet.
Talk with your child's doctor about seeing an allergy specialist to discuss the possibility of allergy shots. These shots can help the body react less to insect venom, which can make a serious reaction less likely.
If you think that your child might have had an allergic reaction to an insect sting, check with your doctor. He or she can test your child for an insect sting allergy and help you understand the difference between a typical reaction to an insect sting and an allergic reaction. The doctor also can determine if an insect sting site is infected, which requires different treatment than an allergic reaction.
What Happens in an Insect Sting Allergy
When someone is allergic to insect stings, the body's immune system, which normally fights infections, overreacts to proteins in the insect's venom. When stung, the body sees these proteins as harmful invaders.
The immune system responds by working very hard to fend off the invader. This causes an allergic reaction, in which chemicals like histamine are released in the body. The release of these chemicals can cause someone to have these symptoms:
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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