Summer is here, which means that so are the bugs, and unfortunately, bug bites. Getting bit or stung is uncomfortable for everyone, but for some people, it can be deadly. Insect and bug allergies can range from mild to severe, the latter of which needing immediate medical attention.
How do you know if you are having an allergic reaction to an insect bite or sting?
Bees, wasps, yellow jackets, hornets, and fire ants are the most likely to cause an allergic reaction. For most people, a sting or bite causes some pain, itching, swelling and/or redness at the spot. The swelling can spread to a larger area (called large local reaction), but unless it is accompanied by extreme pain, will clear up on it’s own in a few days. However, if the extended spot is really painful, antihistamines and corticosteroids might be prescribed to make you more comfortable.
In the case of a severe allergic reaction, you will need immediate help. The American College of Asthma, Allergy & Immunology (ACAAI) lists the following symptoms of a severe reaction:
- Hives, itching and swelling in areas other than the sting site
- Abdominal cramping, vomiting, intense nausea or diarrhea
- Tightness in the chest and difficulty in breathing
- Hoarse voice or swelling of the tongue or throat, or difficulty swallowing
The good news is that a severe reaction is rare and most bites and stings will heal on their own within a few hours or days. Of course the best way to deal with bug bites is to not get them at all. But unfortunately, that’s not that easy and if you do get stung, WebMD offers some at-home first-aid (including what to do if the little pest left its stinger behind). If you search online, you can also find natural remedies such as ice, honey, garlic, menthol, banana and essential oils that can help with discomfort.
If you think you’ve had an allergic reaction to an insect in the past, consult an allergist such as our expert team at CT Sinus Center. When you come in our staff will take a detailed history of your medical history and past reactions. Next, we’ll provide a series of test to find out exactly what and how severe your allergy is. Last, but certainly not least, we’ll provide you with an individualized treatment plan that will help take the sting out of your allergy.