Who Should Be Tested
It’s not always a clear-cut case who should be tested for a bee allergy, but in general: Testing is not needed If a person has never been stung by an insect, or never had any symptoms as a result of a sting, there is no need to perform any venom allergy testing.
Or, if a child or adult has a large local reaction, where swelling occurs at the site of the sting only, it is not usually a reason to perform venom testing or to administer venom allergy shots. This is because the chance of developing anaphylaxis with future stings is only about 0% to 7% for both children and adults.
A few studies show that these large local reactions can be decreased with the use of venom immunotherapy. This may be required in situations where stings are frequent and the swelling disrupts a persons quality of life or ability to work.
Testing is needed if a person of any age has symptoms of anaphylaxis after being stung. That’s because the person has about a 30% to 60% chance that future insect stings will cause a similar reaction.
Also, if there is a particular parental concern or the child is at high risk for frequent stings, venom testing and treatment is a reasonable option. People older than 16 with these same concerns should have venom testing and treatment, given a higher risk of anaphylaxis with future stings.
If a person is found to have a positive allergy test to venom, yet has had no symptoms with stings, the chance of developing anaphylaxis with future stings is between 5% and 15%.
When To See A Doctor
Bee stings can typically be treated with home remedies. If you have a severe allergic reaction, youll need to get to a doctor quickly. After a severe reaction, you should ask your doctor about being referred to an allergist. If the reaction was due to a bee, was or hornet sting, skin or blood testing can be done. If the testing is positive, an allergist may recommend venom immunotherapy which can prevent against reactions from future stings.
Also seek medical attention if you have been attacked by a swarm of bees and stung multiple times, or if the symptoms of a bee sting dont go away in a few days.
Why Does Serum Sickness Occur
Your blood is made up of different parts, one of which is plasma. Plasma is the clear, liquid part of your blood’s makeup. It doesn’t contain any blood cells. It does contain proteins and antibodies that are necessary to your immune system. Plasma also contains antiserum â a protein-based compound that your body develops after exposure to a germ or toxin.
In serum sickness, your body mistakes a protein in the antiserum as a danger, and it triggers an immune response to it.
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First Aid Is Adequate For The Treatment Of Minor Allergic Reactions To Bees
Bees usually leave their barbed sting in the skin and die. Flicking the sting out as soon as possible will reduce the amount of venom injected. Use the edge of your fingernail, a car key or credit card. If possible try not to squeeze the venom sac, as this may increase the amount of venom injected. By contrast, wasps and bull ants rarely leave their sting in the skin. Cold packs and soothing creams often help for minor reactions. Oral antihistamines can be useful for treating itch. Very large and uncomfortable local reactions may need cortisone tablets to settle the swelling.
What Are The Side Effects Of Allergen
Most people have red and swollen skin at the site of injection. But this reaction dies down during the course of the treatment. Steroid creams or gels can be applied to the skin to reduce these side effects.
Other possible side effects include mild anaphylactic reactions that cause tiredness and headaches. But very severe anaphylactic shock, leading to circulation problems or breathing difficulties, is very rare. If it does occur, it often starts within 30 minutes of the injection. So it’s important to stay in the doctor’s waiting room for at least half an hour after having the injection.
Anaphylactic reactions are more common in people who are having immunotherapy for bee sting allergies: They occur in about 14 out of 100 people who have bee sting allergies, compared to about 3 out of 100 people who have wasp sting allergies.
People with certain heart and immune diseases are more likely to have severe reactions to the treatment.
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Start Medication In The Summer
Even though theyre called fall pollen allergies, these seasonal allergies begin before fall does. Ragweed pollen fills the air in early August and typically lasts through November, which makes for a long fall allergy season.
If you start taking anti-allergy medications several weeks before the pollen season begins, youll reduce the severity of your symptoms. You may get by with over-the-counter antihistamines, depending on the severity of your fall pollen allergy however, prescription medications are stronger and some have a different mechanism of action that may provide better relief.
Schedule an appointment in July for an evaluation and to talk about the medication that will work best for you.
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Wasps And Bees Can Put Us In A Bit Of A Panic
But some people have more reason than most to be anxious because, for them, a sting can cause a dramatic and potentially life threatening allergic reaction.
Its called anaphylaxis and its when your bodys immune system overreacts. It can be quite frightening. The triggers include foods such as peanuts, wasp and bee venom and even some drugs, like penicillin.
The most deadly, however, are wasp and bee stings. In the UK they caused more than 70 per cent of all deaths from anaphylaxis outside of a medical setting between 1992 and 20011.
Thats more than the fatalities caused by food allergies.
In fact, up to 3% of the people in the UK are at risk of an allergy and a small minority of those may be at risk of anaphylaxis. But they may not even know it.
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Persistent Swelling: 24 Hours Or More
Individuals may experience swelling in the sting area after the initial sting.
The size of the swelling will vary from person to person, and it may last up to 1 week.
If a personâs symptoms are worsening or if the person is showing any signs of anaphylaxis, they should seek immediate medical attention.
People can treat swelling at home by:
- taking OTC anti-inflammatory drugs
- taking antihistamines to reduce the swelling
- applying a cold compress or ice to the affected area
If any of the symptoms worsen or persist over time, a person should contact a doctor.
Inappropriately discarded drugs can harm people, animals, and the environment. It is essential to dispose of any unwanted medication safely. Read our guide on medication disposal here.
Allergy Specialists In Northeast Illinois
If you or a member of your family has a suspected bee sting allergy, speak to the experienced board-certified allergy specialists at Oak Brook Allergists. We offer allergy testing to accurately identify the cause of your allergy, and we can work with you to create the best treatment plan to make sure you and your family are protected against insect sting allergies.
To find out more about our services, including allergy testing, call us at today or you can request your appointment online now.
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Can You Get A Shot To Prevent Allergies
There is a shot you can take to end or reduce your allergies. The practice is called immunotherapy, and its well-established. Doctors have been giving out allergy shots for more than 100 years, in fact. The idea is to slowly introduce an allergen or group of allergens into an allergic persons body over a long period of time. If done correctly, this usually reduces allergy symptoms significantly and helps reduce the need for allergy medicines as well.
Allergy shots take a real commitment on the part of the patient. Its a 3-5 year process in fact. Initially a patient must receive one or two shots a week for about three and a half months. This is called the build-up phase, and sometimes patients opt to receive more shots sooner, which can shorten this phase to about a month. After the build-up phase, allergy shots are given once or twice a month for several years. Thats a lot of visits to the doctors office!
Recently a new form of immunotherapy has emerged. Sublingual immunotherapy comes in the form of a liquid or tablet you can take at home. The medicine goes underneath your tongue once a day. People tend to like the convenience of this at-home therapy, but it has some drawbacks too. For one, studies suggest it may not be quite as effective as the shots. Its also less likely to help if you have multiple allergies. An immunologist can help you decide on the most effective treatment.
What To Do If Stung
In most cases, bee stings are painful but do not require treatment. Possible reactions are:
- Normal local reaction swelling, redness, and pain confined to sting site.
- Large local reaction swelling beyond sting site, this swelling can last for a week or more.
- Systemic allergic reaction potentially life-threatening, requires medical attention.
- Anaphylaxis symptoms are one or more of the following: hives, itchiness, flushing, swelling, dizziness or a sharp drop in blood pressure, swelling of the tongue, difficulty swallowing, abdominal cramping, vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, unconsciousness or cardiac arrest.
For a small local reaction, wash the site with soap and water, remove the stinger, and apply ice to reduce swelling. A systemic allergic reaction requires medical attention a dose of epinephrine may be required.
A board-certified allergist can determine if you are allergic to bee or other insect venom and discuss the best course of action to prevent further allergic reactions. Schedule an appointment today!
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About Bee And Wasp Allergy:
In the UK there are several species of stinging wasp and hornet although only one species of bee, the honey bee, commonly stings. Wasps and bees are the most likely to sting despite their size, hornet stings are rare and bumble bees hardly ever sting.
Some people have a sensitivity that means a sting by a wasp or a bee could trigger a full allergy to the specific venom of that species. Its the particular proteins within the venom that are to blame.
You may not have an allergic reaction the first time youre stung by a wasp or bee but there is a small risk that subsequent stings could lead to a serious allergic reaction called anaphylaxis.
Pollen Allergies Are A Symptom
I learned that allergies are actually a SYMPTOM of an autoimmune response that stems from hidden food sensitivities and chemical exposures , mostly from personal care products.
Dr. Mark Hyman, MD, is Director of the Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine. Hes also a nine-time #1 New York Times bestselling author and is dedicated to tackling the root causes of diseases.
He explains, Many people dont realize that they have sensitivities to foods most prevalent in our SAD . The more we eat volatile foods, the more risk they pose to our immune system. Eventually, if we over consume some of these foods we may develop a low grade response to them which causes systemic inflammation. The most common are gluten, dairy, eggs, corn, soy and yeast. Peanuts and nightshade vegetables are fairly common too but seen more in people with autoimmune disease. The biochemical response is different than a true food allergy which is actually more acute and immediate. Because a food sensitivity tends to be delayed it can be quite difficult to nail down.
How do you know you have a food sensitivity? You have allergies.
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What Are Epinephrine Kits
These let you give yourself medicine right away if youâre stung, before you get to a doctor for treatment. The most common brand is an EpiPen. You should still see a doctor ASAP after being stung.
You’ll need a prescription from your doctor to buy one of these kits. Carry two with you at all times. In order to prevent drug interactions, tell your doctor about any medicine you take.
How To Identify What Youre Allergic To
Identifying substances that you are allergic to is a critical part of allergy treatment. This way, you can avoid them in the future.
There are many different types of allergies, so ask your doctor about the best allergy tests for diagnosing your symptoms. Most often, allergists perform skin prick tests. These involve injecting tiny amounts of several common allergens to see if they provoke a reaction. Skin prick tests are different from allergy shots.
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Treating A Systemic Reaction
Doctors often prescribe an epinephrine auto-injector device for people with an allergy to bee stings . The auto-injector contains a pre-measured dose of medicine that can stop the systemic reaction. Your childs doctor will prescribe the right dose for your child based on his or her weight.
If you do not have an epinephrine auto-injector and your child is having symptoms of anaphylactic shock, call 9-1-1 and get emergency help right away.
Stinging Insects Are A Common Cause Of Anaphylaxis
Allergies to venoms from stinging insects are one of the most common causes of severe allergic reactions in Australia. Symptoms include an all over rash, swelling of tongue or throat, trouble breathing, abdominal pain, diarrhoea, vomiting and a drop in blood pressure .
- Although stinging insects belong to order of hymenoptera , their venoms are very different. Allergy to one type of stinging insect does not usually increase the risk of an allergic reaction to another.
- The honeybee is the most common cause of allergic reactions to insects in Australia.
- Paper Wasps and European Wasps can sting multiple times. Although the Paper Wasp is responsible for the majority of serious stings, the European Wasp is becoming an increasing problem in Australia.
- The major cause of anaphylaxis from ant stings is the Australian Jack Jumper ant , a medium sized black bull ant most prevalent down the eastern side of Australia and Tasmania. It can be recognised by its characteristic hopping motion when it walks. It is a very aggressive ant and its sting can cause severe local pain.
- Native Australian Bees and the Green Ant of Queensland can also cause allergic reactions.
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Immediate Treatment Of Acute Reactions
The treatment of venom allergy involves the management of an acute reaction, as well as the prevention of future reactions. Epinephrine is the treatment of choice for anaphylaxis.
People with venom allergy are encouraged to carry a self-injectable form of epinephrine, such as an Epi-Pen. If this medication is required, immediate medical attention is also needed, and the person should call 911 or go to the emergency room.
If itching or hives are the only symptoms, an oral antihistamine may be all that is required although seeking emergency medical attention is still advised. If symptoms worsen or swelling of the skin affects the ability to breathe, then epinephrine will be required.
If a stinger remains in the skin, such as with a honeybee sting, it should be removed quickly so that more venom is not injected into the sting. Do not squeeze the stinger or the site of the skin instead, scrape the stinger out with the edge of a credit card. Put ice or a cold compress at the sting site to reduce local swelling.
Can You Outgrow Your Allergies
ByMichael Dharpublished 28 August 13
Most people with allergies first develop them as children or infants. But as they age, some individuals seem to leave their hay fever, pet allergies or even food allergies behind.
Doctors don’t know exactly why, but people’s allergies actually can disappear over time. And even when they don’t disappear, allergies vary significantly.
The severity of allergic reactions differs widely among people, and even within the same individual, allergic reactions can change in severity from season to season and from allergen to allergen. For example, a neighbor’s cat might send you into a sneezing fit, while a different feline could provoke nary a reaction at all.
In general, doctors do know what causes allergies: Your immune system overreacts to a harmless substance. When functioning correctly, your body’s defenses attack foreign invaders, like viruses. With allergies, the immune system mistakenly targets pollen, pet dander or certain foods, for example, sending molecules called immunoglobulin E antibodies to orchestrate a “defense.”
In cases of disappearing allergies, some experts theorize that the person may simply grow accustomed to the allergen, thus reducing the level of immune-system sensitivity.
“Growing accustomed” seems important in allergies to food, particularly nuts. Some doctors have recently emphasized promoting tolerance to the food through low-level exposure that’s gradually increased.
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How Do I Know If I Am Allergic To Bee Stings
Reactions to bee venom can range from mild to severe. In less severe cases, the reaction occurs around the site of the sting. In more severe cases, the allergic reaction affects other parts of the body.
How one individual reacts to a bee sting can also differ from one occasion to the next. Some people may find they have a localized reaction each time they are stung.
It is helpful to know the symptoms associated with different degrees of reactions so that a person can receive the appropriate treatment.
The symptoms of a bee sting vary depending on how allergic the person is. A person can have a mild, moderate, or severe reaction shortly after being stung by a .