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Bee and Wasp Stings (cont.)

Prevention

Some, but not all, stings can be prevented. It is especially important that people known to be allergic to certain insects make an effort to avoid those insects.

Ways to avoid stings include the following:

  • Avoid known areas of concentration such as hives and nests.
  • Do not molest hives and nests.
  • Take care with motorized equipment such as lawnmowers, because they may provoke the insects.
  • If flying insects are around, leave the area and refrain from swatting at them.
  • Avoid activities outdoors with sugary drinks, brightly colored clothing, and strong fragrances or perfumes because some insects may be attracted to them.
  • Wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts because they may also provide some protection.
  • Keep outdoor dining and camping areas clean and free from garbage.

If you have had a previous significant allergic reaction to a sting, it is very important that you have readily available (and know when and how to use) a self-administered injectable epinephrine emergency sting kit, such as an EpiPen.

  • Proper use of these kits may literally be life-saving until emergency help can be reached.
  • It is important that a proper kit be readily available. Multiple kits may be needed to have one at home, at work, in a purse, and in your car.
  • If you are allergic to bee or wasp stings, talk about these kits with your doctor.

If you have had a prior significant allergic reaction to a sting, talk to your doctor about seeing an allergy specialist. Immunotherapy, a series of shots of low-dose sting venom, may reduce the risk of future severe allergic reactions from similar stings from about 60% to about 5%.

If you have had a prior significant allergic reaction to a sting, consider wearing a Medic Alert bracelet and carrying an emergency medical allergy card in your wallet or purse.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/20/2014
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