Almost everyone has experienced an insect sting at some point in their lives. Every year, thousands of patients suffering from insect stings visit urgent care clinics and 90 to 100 deaths result from allergic reactions to insect bites in the United States. These bites mostly lead to itching, mild pain or redness where they occur. Sometimes, people may experience severe allergic reactions caused by these stings.
Most insect stings come from honeybees, wasps, yellow jackets, hornets, and fire ants. On biting, these insects inject venom into the skin that triggers allergies. If you get stung or bitten by any of these stings, talk to your urgent care doctor to identify if it is a normal sting reaction or allergic reaction and get the right treatment before it gets worse.
On being bitten, how would you know if it is an insect sting allergy? The severity of an insect sting reaction varies from person to person. By knowing the types of reactions and their symptoms, you’ll be able to get the proper treatment at the after-hours clinic.
Types of Reaction
The severity of the sting reaction varies from individual to individual. There are primarily three types of reactions that may occur in the body after being stung by insects.
- Normal Reaction – A normal reaction occurs by insect bites or stings may result in swelling, pain, and redness around the affected area.
- Local Irritation – The localized reaction results in causing swelling that spread beyond the sting site. Large local reactions are highly vulnerable for about 48 hours and then gradually decreases within 5 to 10 days.
- Allergic Reaction – Also known as anaphylaxis, it is the most serious reaction to an insect sting. The symptoms initially appear as a normal reaction but can quickly become worse. The allergic reaction can lead someone to have trouble breathing. If not treated, it can become life-threatening.
Besides, there are toxic reactions and serum sickness reactions that are similar to allergic reactions but may have a different mechanism and include symptoms similar to having a flu virus.
Symptoms of an Allergic Reaction
When someone got allergic to insect stings, the immune system treats proteins in the insect’s venom as harmful invaders. To respond back, the immune system fights off the invader which causes an allergic reaction. The chemicals like histamine are released in the body which causes someone to have mild or severe allergic reaction symptoms.
Symptoms of a mild allergic reaction
- Mild to moderate swelling
- Warmth at the sting site
- Pimple-like spots
Symptoms of a severe allergic reaction
- Restlessness and anxiety
- Swelling at the face, lips, throat or tongue
- Trouble breathing
- Wheezing or difficulty swallowing
- Rapid pulse
How to Treat Insect Stings Allergy?
If you are stung by an insect and concerned that you may have an allergy to insect venom, immediately visit your urgent care doctor. Your doctor may perform an intradermal skin test or a blood test to diagnose whether you have a non-allergic or allergic sting reaction.
If the insect leaves a stinger in your skin, use your fingernail to scrape the stinger from your skin. Remove the stinger quickly to avoid receiving more venom. Do not pull on the stinger as this may cause more venom to be released into the skin.
For treating normal to local reactions, remove the stinger and clean the affected area with water and soap, then apply an antiseptic. To decrease the swelling, apply a cold compress or ice pack to the area and elevate the area above the level of your heart. Apply a soothing ointment and cover the area with a sterile bandage. Consult your walk-in doctor for taking an over-the-counter oral antihistamine to reduce hives, itching, and swelling.
For an insect sting allergy, the first step is to take an urgent treatment of the symptoms and the second step is the preventative treatment of the underlying allergy. Severe allergic reactions can lead to shock, unconsciousness, and cardiac arrest within minutes after a sting. This type of reaction requires immediate medical attention at the walk-in urgent care clinics. Before you see your walk-in doctor, inject epinephrine to prevent a more severe allergic reaction from happening.
Learn how to lessen your chances of an insect sting with these safety tips:
- Avoid walking barefoot or without socks when outdoors.
- Avoid sweet-smelling perfumes, deodorants, and hairsprays.
- Try to cover the food when eating outdoors.
- Keep the garbage cans covered with tight-fitting lids and spray cans regularly with insecticides.
- Try to cover your maximum body area with clothes when in rural or wooded areas.
- Use window and door screen at home and keep them in good repair.
- Keep prescribed medications handy and follow the instructions of your urgent care doctor.
Insect bites often cause significant discomfort and sometimes life-threatening allergic reactions. If you are stung by an insect, don’t risk yourself for anaphylaxis. Visit the Artisans of Medicine, the most trusted after-hours urgent care clinic in Brooklyn, New York today to get the early symptoms diagnosis and cure your allergy with effective treatment.