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Allergy: Insect Sting (cont.)

Is there other therapy available for allergic reactions to insect stings?

Allergy shots (immunotherapy) may be effective in people with severe reactions to certain insect stings.

  • Allergy shots are given in a series over several months to build up to a maintenance dose that is continued monthly for 3 to 5 years.
  • Each shot contains a little bit more of the insect venom antigen.
  • Ideally, the person becomes desensitized to the antigen over time.
  • Shots are effective at reducing the severity of the reaction in most people.
  • These shots are available for bee and fire ant venoms.

What is the follow-up for insect sting allergies?

Make sure that all of your health care providers are aware of the type of reaction you have had.

If you have had a severe or all-over reaction, you should be given a prescription for an epinephrine injection kit (EpiPen, Auvi-Q) when you leave the hospital.

  • This is a premeasured dose of epinephrine in an easy-to-use syringe.
  • You would inject yourself in the thigh muscle with the epinephrine at the first sign of a reaction.
  • Someone at your medical office can show you how to use the kit. Clear instructions are also provided at the web site of the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network.
  • It is recommended that you keep 2 or more of these kits at different locations and that you keep one with you at all times in case of a sting.

If you have a severe or all-over reaction to an insect sting, you should see an allergy specialist (allergist). Desensitization therapy is available for some types of venom allergies.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/15/2016
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