Insect Allergies


The Biting Truth about Insect Allergies

Insect 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
  • Anaphylaxis

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.

Call CT Sinus Center today at 860-BALLOON to schedule an appointment at one of our four conveniently-located offices, and let us help you keep allergies from bugging you.

For more information on sinus– and allergy-related conditions and treatments, visit the CT Sinus Center website and blog.


7 Ways to Have a Safe and Festive Fourth of July

Fourth of JulyWith the Fourth of July approaching, many people are preparing for barbeques, fireworks and all the patriotic fun the holiday brings. However, if you are an allergy sufferer, some of these activities may throw up red flags. So in order to help ensure that you and your loved ones have a safe celebration, we compiled a list of things to watch out for.

  1. Pollen counts: Of course you can’t control nature, but if you are aware of the daily pollen counts, you can at least prepare yourself. Allergy medications work best when you take them before you are exposed to the allergens, so make sure to take the correct dose before heading out to the festivities and continue to take as directed.
  2. Grass: There’s a good chance that wherever you’re celebrating, there will be grass — whether watching fireworks or hanging out at a park or a backyard BBQ. During this time of the year, grass pollens are pretty hard to avoid, especially since the holiday is so close to June, the time in which grass pollen count skyrockets. Grass can also be a breeding ground for mold, which can trigger allergic symptoms as well. If you are sensitive to these elements, take you allergy medication and find alternatives to sitting in the grass.
  3. Insects: Another hidden danger in grass involves insects. The saying “they won’t bother you if don’t bother them” may often be true, but insect behavior tends to be unpredictable. Be sure to pack your bug spray  and follow these tips from the  the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology to ward off any unprovoked attacks. And if you or someone does have a known allergy to insect bites/stings, make sure you’ve also packed the EpiPen.
  4. Balloons: Who doesn’t love balloons? Someone with a latex allergy. Many party planners don’t take latex allergies into account when they are buying decorations, and it’s not unusual for guests, especially children, to reach out and grab balloons. So if you are buying balloons for your Fourth of July celebration, buy the latex-free ones.
  5. Smoke: Where there are fireworks, there is usually also smoke. The same can be said for campfires and even the grill. Usually the smoke itself is an irritant, rather than an allergen, but that doesn’t mean it can’t cause serious health issues. People who suffer from asthma or COPD are particularly susceptible to the dangers of smoke and should stay out of smoke’s way. And, of course, everyone should remain conscious of fire and firework safety at all times.
  6. Food allergies: In the last couple of years, the world has become much more sensitive about food allergies, and just because it’s a holiday, it doesn’t mean you should take a break from being conscientious about them. For some delicious, allergy-friendly Fourth of July recipes, visit My Allergy Kingdom.
  7. PTSD: Not everybody loves fireworks, in fact for some Veterans, they can be downright terrifying. The loud explosions and flashes of light in a firework display can trigger frightening flashbacks for our Veterans, and nobody wants that to happen. To learn more about how you can help your Veterans cope during Fourth of July celebrations, visit here. After all, we have them to thank for our continued independence.

With a little planning ahead, everyone can have a blast on the Fourth of July. At CT Sinus Center, we would like to wish you and your family a happy and healthy holiday!

For more information on all things sinusitis and allergy, visit the CT Sinus Center website and blog.