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Allergy: Insect Sting (cont.)

When to Seek Medical Care

Mild localized itching, swelling, or discomfort requires a call your health care provider for advice.

Worsening of local symptoms over a few days may be evidence of infection at the sting site. Pain, increased swelling and redness, and warmth suggest an infection. Call your health care provider for an appointment the same day.

If you had a reaction in the past, even if you used an epinephrine injection kit for this sting, go immediately to your medical office or hospital emergency department, whichever is closer. Even if you have treated yourself, you still need to be evaluated to make sure that your symptoms are resolving and are not recurring.

Hives or rash or swelling all over your body, difficulty breathing or swallowing, or dizziness or fainting suggest an anaphylactic reaction and require immediate medical attention.

  • If you have these severe symptoms or symptoms over your entire body, you should go to a hospital emergency department.
  • Do not drive yourself to the hospital.
  • If no one is available to drive you right away, call 911 for emergency medical transport. If you are able, tell the dispatcher that you are having a reaction to a sting.
  • While waiting for the ambulance, take self-treatment measures.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 8/28/2014
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Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

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Portier and Richet first coined the term anaphylaxis in 1902 when a second vaccinating dose of sea anemone toxin caused a dog's death.

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