Bee and Wasp Stings (cont.)
IN THIS ARTICLE
Bee and Wasp Sting 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:
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.
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.
Bee and Wasp Stings Outlook
In most cases involving only one or a few stings, the prognosis is excellent if only local symptoms occur. Pain and itching may last a day or so.
Cases involving many stings may occasionally cause delayed and long-term complications. Although these complications may occur despite appropriate medical care, early medical care may lessen the severity.
Serious skin infections are uncommon after a sting.
People suffering a mild allergic reaction are likely to do well if emergency medical care is sought quickly.
People who suffer a severe allergic reaction to a sting require immediate emergency medical care to lessen the chance of serious illness or even death. Any delay in emergency medical care greatly increases the risk to a person having a severe allergic reaction. In some allergic people, severe disability or even death may still occur despite appropriate medical care.
For More Information on Bee and Wasp Stings
American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
Medically reviewed by Avrom Simon, MD; Board Certified Preventative Medicine with Subspecialty in Occupational Medicine
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/1/2016
Marion Berg, MD
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