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Allergy: Insect Sting (cont.)

How do I prevent insect sting allergies?

Take precautions to avoid insect stings in the future.

  • Avoid nests or hives of stinging insects.
  • Do not wear bright clothing or perfumes that might attract bees and wasps.
  • Remain calm and quiet around flying insects. Move slowly.
  • Take special care when around food or drinks outdoors, as at cookouts or picnics. Stinging insects are attracted to foods, especially sweet foods such as soft drinks.

Evaluation by an allergist for desensitization injections has been shown to be of benefit.

Obtain one or more epinephrine injection kits if this has been prescribed for you.

  • Keep the kit(s) in convenient locations and have one near you at all times.
  • Read the instructions right away and review them often.
  • It is important that you be able to get to the kit and use it quickly in case of a reaction.
  • Make sure your family members and closest friends know how to use the kit as well.
  • Any time this device is used, you must go immediately afterward to your health care provider or to a hospital emergency department.

What is the outlook for allergic reactions to insect stings?

Prompt treatment usually avoids any short-term complications, but any delay in the treatment of a severe allergic reaction can result in rapid deterioration and death.

The long-term outlook is usually good as well. Local infection at the sting site can occur but is rare.

Arthritis, kidney failure, or nervous system disorders are late complications of a sting (weeks or possibly months later).

  • This is extremely rare.
  • If you have joint pain or swelling, urinary problems, or unexplained numbness, tingling or burning sensation, or pain in the weeks after an insect sting, you should see your health care provider.

If you develop anaphylactic shock following an insect sting, you are at an increased risk of developing anaphylaxis in the future if you are stung again.

Medically reviewed by Joseph Palermo, DO; American Osteopathic Board Certified Internal Medicine


"Bee, yellow jacket, wasp, and other Hymenoptera stings: Reaction types and acute management"

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/20/2017
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