The “sting” of an insect such as a bee, wasp, hornet, yellow jacket or fire ants, is the injection of venom into the victim. The typical reaction may result in pain at the sting site, reddening, swelling and itching that may last just a few hours. Enlarged local reactions may have painful swelling several inches around the area of the sting lasting for days.
But, if the victim is allergic to venom, the result may be severe life-threatening reactions.
The symptoms of severe allergic reaction include:
- Stomach cramps
- Hives and itching
- Wheezing and difficulty breathing
- Anaphylactic reaction (shock)
- sudden drop in blood pressure
- loss of consciousness
Anaphylactic reaction may lead to death and can occur if no immediate medical care is provided.
In a majority of patients, venom immunotherapy will protect against any future life-threatening reactions. In the case of severe or generalized reactions, patients with known allergic sensitivities to insect venom should be evaluated by an allergist and placed on protective desensitization therapy.