Insect Stings Can Be Deadly
Prevention is key
It’s the end of the summer. This is the time of year where we see an increase in prevalence of bees, wasps and other allergies. For those of you with a severe bee allergy, you should be taking extra care for prevention and treatment of potential stings.
According to Clifford Tepper, MD, who is the Chair of the Insect Allergy Committee of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, you need to be prepared to act rapidly if you are stung. Your friends and family should play a role in your strategy to survive a sting by ensuring that you are taken care of immediately. It’s important that others recognize the signs of an anaphylactic reaction and know how to help with allergy relief as quickly as possible; this includes knowing how to administer an epinephrine shot - commonly known as an Epipen - if someone experiences a reaction.
Anaphylaxis is the most serious allergic reaction. Unlike most allergic reactions, which are more annoying than dangerous, anaphylaxis is life threatening. A person experiencing this condition can have trouble breathing, may lose consciousness and can die as a result of the severe reaction.
In most cases, anaphylaxis is caused by stings, certain foods and some medications. However, you can have an anaphylactic reaction to anything that you are allergic to.
While most people know that anaphylaxis can cause severe breathing difficulties, it is also associated with many other symptoms. A reaction involves the whole body, which is why it can be so dangerous. You’ll recognize anaphylaxis by the following signs:
- skin reactions such as itching or hives
- breathing problems
- feeling dizzy
- tongue or throat swelling
- stomach cramping
- upset stomach and nausea
- intestinal problems or diarrhea
- shock and potential unconsciousness
Anaphylaxis requires medical attention and follow-up. Even if you carry your own Epipen and have avoided a serious reaction by treating yourself, be sure to see a doctor and get emergency treatment as soon as possible as a precautionary measure.
August 31, 2006
American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology