Moderate Bee Sting Allergic Reaction Symptoms
Sometimes, people who are stung by bees and other insects have a more intense reaction. If you have a moderate bee sting allergy, you may experience:
- Reasonable swelling at the sting site
- Itchy and watery eyes
- Runny nose
While you may not need to see a doctor to treat your moderate reaction, a follow-up visit is a good idea. Bee sting reactions can become more severe each time. What was a mild response may become an emergency with your next sting. A medical provider can determine how allergic you are to bees and what preventative steps you can take.
SEVERE BEE STING ALLERGIC REACTION SYMPTOMS
Sometimes exposure to an allergen results in a serious and potentially deadly reaction known as anaphylaxis. At least 60 deaths occur each year in the United States due to bee sting anaphylaxis.2 Symptoms occur suddenly and should be addressed quickly. Early signs may be minor, including a runny nose, skin rash, or malaise .
More serious symptoms include:
- Rapid heartbeat
- Cardiac arrest
Its also important to remember that a severe bee sting allergy can occur immediately or appear up to 12 hours after a sting occurs. Observe your symptoms.
How Boston Children’s Approaches Bee Stings
One of the most important things you can do for your child is to recognize whether he or she may have an allergy to bee stings. At Boston Children’s, we can help you figure out if your child is at risk, what tests are necessary, what treatments are needed and how to avoid bee stings in the first place.
Wasp And Bee Venom Immunotherapy
More than half of adult patients who have experienced a general systemic reaction following a sting are at great risk of a similar or worse reaction to another sting and this may be life threatening. In children, the chance of a serious reaction to another sting is less but still present.
Immunotherapy is a treatment that is highly effective in preventing severe allergic reactions . Even in patients who develop a reaction the severity is greatly reduced after immunotherapy.
The treatment involves weekly injections for 12 to 15 weeks of increasing concentrations of purified commercially available insect venom to which you are allergic. This is a safe procedure when performed in an NHS clinic although you will have to wait for one hour following each injection in view of the very remote risk of developing a reaction, so that this can be recognised and treated promptly. After updosing, then maintenance doses of venom are given every six to eight weeks for a period of three to five years.
Although-time consuming this treatment is highly effective, approved by NICE and available in NHS allergy clinics within UK. Many people who are venom allergic suffer anxiety due to fear of a fatal reaction following a subsequent sting and are very reassured by the knowledge that they can be effectively cured by immunotherapy since the treatment is not only effective but lasts for many years after completing the treatment.
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For Kids Who May Never Outgrow Bee Sting Allergies: Shots Reduce Risk
Johns Hopkins MedicineAugust 11, 2004
FOR KIDS WHO MAY NEVER OUTGROW BEE STING ALLERGIES: SHOTS REDUCE RISK
Although the majority of children outgrow allergies to bee, wasp and other insect stings, almost one in five who had allergic reactions when stung as children – especially those who had serious allergic reactions — are likely to have reactions later in life, according to a study by Johns Hopkins scientists.
“Contrary to popular wisdom, a great number of children do not outgrow allergic reactions to insect stings,” says David Golden, M.D., associate professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins and lead author of a report on the study appearing in the Aug. 12, 2004 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. “The good news is that for children with moderate to severe reactions, allergy shots will lower the risk of serious reactions to stings even 10 to 20 years after treatment is stopped.”
Allergy shots, or venom immunotherapy, give purified bee or other insect venom in small doses that build up over time and are recommended for children who have moderate or severe reactions, including dizziness, breathing difficulty and lowered blood pressure. There is little need for the therapy in children with milder reactions, such as minor swelling and hives, said Golden.
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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 .
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How Are Reactions From An Insect Sting Treated
If your child has been diagnosed with an insect sting allergy, always keep two epinephrine auto-injectors on hand in case of a severe reaction. If your child starts having serious allergic symptoms, like throat swelling or trouble breathing:
- Give the epinephrine auto-injector right away. Every second counts in an allergic reaction.
- Then call 911 to take your child to the emergency room. Your child needs to be under medical supervision because even if the worst seems to have passed, a second wave of serious symptoms can happen.
An epinephrine auto-injector comes in a small, easy-to-carry container. It’s simple to use. Your doctor will show you how to use it. Kids who are old enough can be taught how to give themselves the injection.
Your doctor also might instruct you to give your child antihistamines in some cases. But always treat a serious reaction with epinephrine. Never use antihistamines instead of epinephrine in serious reactions.
Share emergency plans with anyone who cares for your child, including relatives and school officials. Together, agree on a plan in case of a serious reaction at school, including making sure that injectable epinephrine is available at all times. If your child is old enough to carry the epinephrine, it should be in a purse or backpack that’s with your child at all times, not in a locker. Also consider having your child wear a medical alert bracelet.
Geraniums Are Not A Favorite
Geraniums are not very attractive to bees. They have a strong scent that is off-putting to many insects. They also contain almost no pollen that would entice foragers.
If you choose red geraniums, that is even better because bees see red as black. This dark color is not inviting to a foraging worker.
Geraniums are a tender annual in most locations but they can be grown very well in pots. Include them in your bee friendly landscape if you are particularly fond of the flower or foliage. They are a good choice for seating areas of walkways.
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Other Gardening Tips For Allergy Sufferers
Some plants reproduce by releasing billions of tiny little pollen spores. This happens in the spring, summer, and fall, and they wreak havoc on anyone with allergies.
If that sounds like you, plant varieties that use insects to pollinate because their pollen is usually heavier. You could also plant female varieties of plants as they trap pollen spores.
- Pay attention to the pollen count if your local authority provides one.
- On wet, cool days, the pollen count is lower than hot dry days.
- Mow your lawn regularly to keep weeds and seeds from spreading.
- If necessary, wear a mask, gloves, and long sleeves to reduce contact with pollen.
- Shower when you finish gardening to wash pollen from your body.
One simple tip I have for a low allergen garden is seeking bee and butterfly friendly perennials and shrubs. Insect pollinated plants dont release pollen as a wind-pollinated plant does. That makes the bees and butterflies happy too.
If you suffer from allergies and love gardening, you can still do it. Speak to your local extension office and get some tips because there are often hybrids that look amazing, but have little to no pollen.
Treatment Of Bee Sting Allergies In Dogs
The veterinarian will take a look at the injection site and make sure that you were able to remove the stinger and to check for more than one sting site. Along with the epinephrine, antihistamines, and steroids, the veterinarian will continue the IV fluids and oxygen therapy for about 24 to 48 hours. The length of treatment depends on your dogs symptoms, test results, and reaction to treatment. While in the hospital, the staff will continue to monitor your dogs heart rate, blood pressure, oxygen levels, and vital organ activity. The team will provide supportive measures if necessary, such as additional steroids, antihistamines, and administer antibiotics if the veterinarian thinks it may be necessary in order to prevent infection.
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Overview Of Bee Sting Reactions And Allergies
If you’ve ever been stung by a flying insect a honeybee, hornet, wasp, yellow jacket, or fire ant you already know how your body responds: Some people have relatively mild reactions to insect bites or stings, while others are highly allergic and have potentially life-threatening symptoms of anaphylaxis such as wheezing and swelling of the tongue and throat that make it hard to breathe.
But if you’ve never been bitten or stung, how it might affect you may be a mystery and not one you necessarily want to solve. Even so, it’s a good idea to understand the risk factors for having an encounter with an insect, to know how to recognize the symptoms that should receive immediate medical attention, and to become familiar with the types of stinging insects so that you can avoid them as much as possible and also be able to tell your healthcare provider if you have a run-in with one.
What Are Seasonal Allergies When Do They Start And How Long Do They Last
Allergies can sometimes be confusing, and there are many misconceptions about them. Also called allergic rhinitis, seasonal allergies are the result of your body mounting an immune defence to a harmless substance in most cases, pollen.
Unlike bee-pollinated plants like roses, many trees and grasses release their pollen in large quantities so that the wind can pollinate their species. If you have allergies, these tiny grains of pollen in the air make your body think its under attack by a pathogen. This causes your immune system to release histamine, resulting in all the unpleasant allergy symptoms youre familiar with.
Since pollen is usually the cause of most seasonal allergies, allergy season coincides with spring. Most people who experience allergies usually find their symptoms start somewhere around March or April with tree pollen season. It can change, however, depending on weather patterns, arriving earlier in warmer years, and later in colder ones.
Just as the trees begin to decrease their pollen production, grasses begin to ramp up theirs. Grass pollen is at its peak over the summer months June, July, and August. Weeds and their pollen also creep in during those warmer months, but the worst of the worst ragweed shows up in August and sticks around until the first frost.
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But Can Allergies Go Away
Yes, some children develop allergies and later outgrow them. Doctors dont always know the exact reasons for the disappearance. However, the understanding is that overtime people can become desensitized through contact with the allergen. For example, maybe your nose became very stuffy when you first adopted a dog. But over time, you may adjust to your dogs hair and stop experiencing symptoms.
Treatments like immunotherapy are controlled interactions with known allergens, allowing the body to build up immunity. For some, they never need this treatment. Their body does the process on its own, creating the necessary antibodies. But for others, allergies are lifelong and can even worsen over time. Lets look at a study that highlights these facts.
Can You Overcome Food Allergies Faster
About 85% of children naturally outgrow their allergies to milk, egg, wheat and soy 15% will outgrow their shellfish, peanut, and tree nut allergies. But some research suggests that people may be able to take steps to overcome food allergies more quickly. For example, one study found that about 70% of children and young adults with egg allergies could tolerate baked eggs. So the researchers asked these subjects to eat baked eggs every day. After about three and a half years, 64% of the subjects could eat regular eggs. Researchers say this is because the kids’ immune systems gradually adapted to the eggs.
Another study found similar results among children with milk allergies. When milk-allergic children ate baked milk products daily, most subjects were able to drink regular milk after three years.
Don’t try these methods on your own, though. Doctors should supervise anyone with a food allergy who is testing his or her reaction to that food.
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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.
The Allergic Reaction Could Be Worse Next Time
We shouldnt stop taking allergic reactions seriously simply because some allergies can go away on their own. After one systemic reaction, the possibility of a reoccurring reaction of similar or increased severity increases anywhere between 20% and 60%.11
Without talking to a doctor, it is incredibly difficult to know your own risk. Through testing, allergists can discover the amount of antibodies your body has for a specific allergen and determine your risk factor.
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Emergency Treatment For Severe Systemic Reactions To Stings
Wasp or bee venom allergic people who have developed a general systemic reaction following a sting should have two emergency AAI kits prescribed by their doctor/nurse prescriber to be carried around at all times.
Practical demonstration of the injection technique using a trainer auto-injector pen is essential and should be repeated for the patient.
The kit should always be immediately available. It is important that family/friends are also trained.
You should always keep two dose units of adrenaline immediately available as a repeat dose may be needed while awaiting the arrival of emergency services.
Companies that supply AAIs provide trainer devices and training videos are also available. They may also provide an alert system that notifies you when your AAI is about to become out of date .
Allergy UK provides free Factsheets on AAIs and anaphylaxis, available on our website: www.allergyuk.org/informationand-advice/conditions-and-symptoms/33-anaphylaxis-andsevere-allergic-reaction
Roses Are Not Very Attractive To Bees
Roses are a popular landscape plant that come in many different varieties. You can find roses in every color, shape and bush size. You can even find roses that have been developed for large beautiful blooms and less thorns.
Roses are not very attractive to honey bees. To increase your chances of seeing fewer of them around your rose bushes, choose red or other dark colors.
Also, avoid roses that are highly scented. Insects are so sensitive to smell. A fragrant aroma is very enticing to a working bee.
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When To Seek Further Medical Help Once The Reaction To The Sting Has Resolved
If you have had, or are suspected of having, a systemic reaction to an insect bite or sting you should describe the event to your GP and you may raise certain questions:
- If you have had a systemic reaction to an insect sting you may be advised to carry a medical identification bracelet or necklace
- If you have had a severe systemic reaction you should have been supplied with an Adrenaline Auto-Injector from your doctor or A& E department
- If prescribed you should be trained how and when to use an AAI
- If you need to use an AAI you should be aware that this is no substitute for seeking immediate medical attention
- If you have an AAI you should check the expiry date and always ensure prompt renewal with a further prescription. We recommend you sign up to the expiry alert system with the AAI company.
- In all cases of a systemic reaction you should discuss with your GP the need for referral to an NHS allergy/ immunology clinic. You will need an assessment of future risk, the performance of allergy testing to confirm allergic sensitivity and to confirm whether due to bee, wasp or other insect suggested by the history. In addition to advice on risk reduction and further guidance on need for and use of an AAI, you may be suitable for desensitisation/ immunotherapy treatment .