Bee and Wasp Sting Allergies
Thursday 24th April
Bee and wasp stings are amongst the most common insect stings that can trigger allergies - but how can you detect the difference between a normal reaction to a sting and an allergic reaction?
The severity of an insect sting reaction can vary but there are three general types of reaction to look out for:
- A normal reaction – this can result in an intense, burning pain, followed by swelling and redness around the sting area. This usually eases and goes within a few hours.
- A localised reaction – this can result in swelling which extends beyond the sting area. The size of the swelling can vary but is not usually dangerous unless it affects your airway.
- A generalised (allergic) reaction – this is the most serious type of reaction and requires immediate medical attention if symptoms are severe.
What are the symptoms of a severe sting allergy?
A generalised reaction usually develops within 10 minutes of a sting. It can be fairly mild (with symptoms such as itching, mild swelling or pimple-like spots) but in some cases can be severe and life-threatening.
Symptoms of a severe sting allergy (called an anaphylactic reaction) may include one or more of the following:
- Difficulty breathing or wheezing due to swelling of the throat or asthma
- Swelling of the face which can extend to the throat, lips, tongue and upper airway
- Hives which appear as a red, itchy rash and can appear anywhere on the body (in areas beyond the sting)
- Rapid pulse
- Dizziness or a sharp drop in blood pressure
- Abdominal cramps and feeling sick
Whilst severe allergic reactions are not that common they can lead to cardiac arrest and unconsciousness in 10 minutes or less. If the above symptoms occur it is important to get emergency medical treatment as soon as possible.
If you suffer from many bee or wasp stings at the same time this can also make you seriously ill. This is usually due to the high dose of venom in your body rather than to an allergic reaction but you should seek medical advice as soon as possible on this.
Symptoms and treatment of stings.
Prevention of bee and wasp stings.