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.
What Is An Insect Sting Allergy
Insects that can trigger allergic reactions include honeybees, yellowjackets, hornets, wasps, and fire ants. When they sting, they inject venom into the skin.
Allergic reactions to stings usually don’t happen when a child is stung for the first time. Most happen when the child is stung for a second time, or even later.
If you think that your child might have had an allergic reaction to an insect sting, call your doctor. The doctor can help you understand the difference between what usually happens with an insect sting and what happens with an allergic reaction. If your child does have an allergy, the doctor will prescribe epinephrine auto injectors to use in case of a severe reaction.
What Happens In An Insect Sting Allergy
When someone is allergic to insect stings, the body’s immune system, which normally fights infections, overreacts to proteins in the insect’s venom. When stung, the body sees these proteins as harmful invaders.
The immune system responds by working very hard to fight off the invader. This causes an allergic reaction, in which chemicals like histamine are released in the body. This release can cause symptoms such as:
- a feeling like something bad is about to happen
- a drop in blood pressure, causing lightheadedness or passing out
A serious allergic reaction is called anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis can cause different symptoms at different times. A reaction is considered anaphylaxis if someone has:
- any severe symptoms, such as trouble breathing, repeated vomiting, passing out, or throat tightnessor
- two or more mild symptoms, such as hives with vomiting or coughing with belly pain
Anaphylaxis can begin with some of the same symptoms as a less severe reaction, but these can quickly become worse. Anaphylaxis that’s not treated can be life-threatening. A person with anaphylaxis needs treatment with injectable epinephrine right away.
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My Mother Is Allergic To Bee Stings Does That Mean I Am Allergic As Well
Dr. Marc Riedl answers the question: ‘Are Bee Sting Allergies Inheritable?’
— Question: My mother is allergic to bee stings. Does that mean I am allergic as well?
Answer: Probably not. It is true that if your parents are allergic, there’s a great risk that you will also have some form of allergic disease. But it’s generally not true that you’ll be allergic to the same things as your parents.
Remember that allergy occurs when there’s the right genetic combination — the genes you get from your parents — but also certain exposure to something in the environment — in this case a bee sting. So it’s possible that if were stung by a bee you may develop allergy based on your genetic background. But this generally isn’t the case. Unfortunately the only way to know for sure is for the person to be stung — which is something you hope to avoid. In any case I wouldn’t have a great deal of concern about having this specific allergy, but you should be aware that it’s possible you’ll get some allergic condition during your lifetime.
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.
What To Do If Your Child Gets Stung By A Bee
I have a latent fear of my daughter getting stung by a bee. I was stung many times in my childhood, including once on the behind an hour before my piano recital when I was 10, so I’m well aware that bee stings are a natural part of life. However, if your kid has never been stung before â or if she has a tendency to react to bug bites or have allergic reactions â you’ll want to know what to do if your child gets stung by a bee, because it can be terrifying.
Typically, you can treat a bee sting by removing the stinger, washing the area, and applying an ice pack. Most bee stings are harmless and kids will get over the shock and distress in a short period of time. However, there are symptoms you should watch out for to ensure your child isn’t allergic to bee stings and might need a trip to the emergency room.
Bees often leave behind their stinger when they sting. You’ll want to get that out of there to speed up the healing process. You shouldn’t try to remove the stinger with tweezers or your fingers as you run the risk of pushing it deeper into the skin, cautioned Kids First Aid. Instead, use a credit card or business card and run it over the sting to remove the stinger. Then wash the area and apply an ice pack. “If, after a short while, the swelling has become worse or your child is still in pain, then it will be necessary to call the doctor or visit the emergency ward at your local hospital.”
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How To Care For Insect Stings
Sometimes, even when you do everything right, you can still get stung. Take these steps immediately following an insect sting:
You may have heard that you should swipe the stinger out with a credit card or your fingernail rather than pinching and pulling it out. But, says Dr. Fertel, theres no evidence that the technique makes a difference. What does matter is how quickly you remove the stinger. So dont stress about how its done just get it over with fast.
Redness and swelling at the site of the sting is a normal reaction and will subside over time, usually in one to two days, says Dr. Fertel.
Know Your Allergies Finding Out The Foods You React To
A food allergy is an immunological response to a food allergen after consuming it or being exposed to it in other words, your bodys immune system misidentifies the food as a germ or foreign invader and tries to attack it, creating the allergic reaction. Common food allergens include milk, soy, Read More
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Can Autoimmune Cause Insect Allergies
The cause of insect allergies is not known at this time. Those with autoimmune disorders, however, are at a higher risk of developing allergies, including insect allergies. Those with autoimmune disorders can work in consultation with an allergist to determine whether or not they have certain allergies, including insect allergies.
Tips To Avoid Foods That May Cause Allergies
To avoid foods to which you have an allergy, learn the terms used to describe these foods on food labels, for example:
- milk protein milk, non-fat milk solids, cheese, yoghurt, caseinates, whey, lactose
- lactose milk, lactose
- Nutrition Australia. Tel. 9650 5165
- ASCIA Guidelines for prevention of food anaphylactic reactions in schools, preschools and childcare centres, 2015 update, Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy. More information here.
- Osborne NJ, Koplin JJ, Martin PE, et al 2011, Prevalence of challenge-proven IgE-mediated food allergy using population-based sampling and predetermined challenge criteria in infants, J Allergy Clin Immunol, vol. 127, no. 3, pp. 668-676. More information here.
- About food allergies, The Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network. More information here.
- Anaphylaxis, Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, Victorian Government. More information here.
- ASCIA Guidelines infant feeding and allergy prevention, 2016, Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy. More information here.
- Allergens, Food Allergy Research and Education. More information here.
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Why Do People Get Allergies
Anyone with an allergy has their origin story, a tale of how they discovered that their immune system goes haywire when some arbitrarily particular molecule gets into their body. There are hundreds of millions of these stories. In the US alone, an estimated 18 million people suffer from hay fever, and food allergies affect millions of American children. The prevalence of allergies in many other countries is rising. The list of allergens includes but is not limited to latex, gold, pollen , penicillin, insect venom, peanuts, papayas, jellyfish stings, perfume, eggs, the feces of house mites, pecans, salmon, beef and nickel.
Once these substances trigger an allergy, the symptoms can run the gamut from annoying to deadly. Hives appear, lips swell. Hay fever brings sniffles and stinging eyes allergies to food can cause vomiting and diarrhea. For an unlucky minority, allergies can trigger a potentially fatal whole-body reaction known as anaphylactic shock.
For allergy sufferers, the current treatment options are limited: antihistamines can stop the inflammation response, steroids can help dial down the immune system, and EpiPens can save lives. A more permanent option is immunotherapy. Deliberate, controlled exposure to gradually increasing amounts of an allergen can teach the immune system that it isnt dangerous after all.
Insects That Cause Venom Allergies
Besides bees , there are other flying insects that can sting or bite and, in people who are predisposed to them, cause an allergic reaction. These creatures all belong to the order Hymenoptera: yellow jackets, hornets, wasps, and fire ants.
It’s more important at the moment to seek medical attention for a severe allergic reaction to an insect sting than to identify which bug was responsible. But it can be helpful in general to recognize insects that can cause an anaphylactic reaction and know a bit about their habits so you can avoid them.
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Treatment Of Future Reactions
To prevent reactions to future insect stings, avoid being around stinging insects.
Immunotherapy, or allergy shots, using purified venom from the type of insect to which a person is allergic, can cure venom allergy. Allergy shots using pure venom is given in much the same way as allergy shots for pollen allergy.
After a person is receiving appropriate doses of venom allergy shots, the chance of a reaction with future stings is reduced to less than 5%. After a series of venom allergy shots for at least three to five years, most people can stop the shots without a significant increase in the chance of allergic reactions.
However, some people with severe, life-threatening reactions from insect stings, or those who have had anaphylaxis from the venom allergy shots themselves, may require life-long venom allergy shots.
This is because a persons chances of a reaction to future stings may slowly increase to as high as 20% many years after venom allergy shots are stopped. This topic is an evolving area of venom allergy research and requires careful discussion between a person and their allergist.
For those with severe allergies who must due to occupation or hobby be in a situation in which stings could easily occur, the option of rush immunotherapy should be considered. Accelerated immunotherapy such as rush, though it carries an increased risk of reactions, can result in control of venom allergies much more rapidly than “regular” allergy shots.
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%.
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Are Bees Attracted To Light At Night
Its unlikely for bees to fly outside the hive at night and become attracted by lights from your house. Forager bees sleep at night and are significantly less responsive to light during this time. And younger bees, who tend to be more active at night than forager bees, are not as attracted to light.
Can We Predict The Outcome Of A Future Sting
There is no blood test that will reliably predict how a patient will react to a future sting
No direct correlation exists between the concentration of venom-specific IgG in the serum and protection from the next sting There may be no reaction to a sting in spite of the presence of venom IgE
Venom IgE will eventually disappear, but this can take many years. Once it has disappeared completelyboth from the serum and from the mast cellsa sting cannot produce a reaction
Provocation tests are done either with a real sting or with a subcutaneous injection of pure venom. These are the only tests that will reliably show a patients reactivity, but, although they are very useful, they are not very practicable. Their use is restricted to specialist centres, and they are useful in research
This cytokine switch will lead in the long term to loss of IgE synthesis and the allergic response but does not explain the fact that, clinically, desensitisation occurs before these changes take place. This suggests that other, earlier operating mechanisms are involved.
Are Bee Allergies Genetic
Remember that allergy occurs when there’s the right genetic combination — the genes you get from your parents — but also certain exposure to something in the environment — in this case a bee sting. So it’s possible that if were stung by a bee you may develop allergy based on your genetic background.
What Causes A Bee Sting Allergy
Usually, bee stings dont cause a serious reaction. However, if youre allergic to bee stings or have had several bee stings, you may experience a severe reaction such as anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis to a bee sting requires immediate medical attention.
Mild, local symptoms of a bee sting include:
- pain or itching at the site of the sting
- a white spot where the stinger punctured the skin
- redness and slight swelling around the sting
Severe systemic symptoms of a bee sting include:
- weak and rapid heart rate
- loss of consciousness
Certain people are at a higher risk for bee sting allergy than others. Risk factors include:
- living in an area near active beehives
- living in an area where bees are actively pollinating plants
- spending lots of time outside
- having had a previous allergic reaction to a bee sting
- taking certain medications, such as beta-blockers
Adults are more likely to have serious reactions to bee stings than children.
If you have a known allergy to bee, wasp, or yellow jacket venom, you should carry a bee sting kit with you when youre spending time outdoors.
This contains a medication called epinephrine, which treats anaphylaxis a severe allergic reaction that could make breathing difficult.
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