Insect Sting Allergy
It is estimated that two millions Americans are allergic to stinging insects, including yellow jackets, hornets, wasps, honeybees, and fire ants (in the southern U.S.). The most severe allergic reaction is termed “anaphylaxis” and represents a total body allergic reaction. Symptoms may include diffuse hives, swelling which may affect the face or airway, wheezing, shortness of breath, and lightheadedness/loss of consciousness due to a fall in blood pressure. Venom allergy skin testing can accurately identify the cause of these reactions and a series of venom allergy injections are nearly 100% effective in preventing future episodes. An emergency plan including the use of an EpiPen or Auvi-Q also is advised for patients who have had severe allergic reactions to insect stings.