Don’t Take Sting Allergies Lightly
Warm days bring out a variety of flying insects, and while some of them are just irritating, like flies, some may be actively harmful, like mosquitos that bite, and then there are some that, depending on the circumstances can be dangerous. Bees, for example, are normally focused on being productive, industrious members of their hive, collecting food to bring back to feed the young and, in some cases, even produce honey! Wasps and hornets are the same, being more willing to go about their business rather than specifically target humans the way mosquitos do.
However, what bees, wasps and hornets all share in common is that they can, if they feel threatened or provoked, fight back against humans. And their defense mechanism is surprisingly effective. In some cases it can even be lethal. And this is why you should be very careful not just to avoid provoking these insects, but to be mindful of the results afterwards if someone should get stung.
A Sting Is Poison
In all cases of the stinging insects mentioned above, the ability to pierce the skin with the stinger is not the only effect of an attack. Bee, wasp and hornet stings also inject venom into the bloodstream of the victim. For the majority of people, the sting, while painful enough, will also result in a few hours of soreness and maybe some discoloration of the skin. Eventually however, the toxin runs its course, and healing begins.
But for a small percentage of people, there may be an allergic sensitivity to the venom of a bee, wasp or hornet, and that can result in an allergic reaction that can be far more serious. Left untreated, it may even result in death. Unfortunately, most people only find out they are allergic to an insect sting when it finally happens to them.
If someone gets stung by a bee or other insect, it’s important to keep an eye on the symptoms. In most cases, there will be discoloration of the skin, swelling and itching, but only in the affected area. If you see hives, swelling and other skin symptoms breaking out all over the body, that’s the sign of an allergic reaction. Swelling of the tongue, throat and face is also another sign to watch out for.
In other cases, there may not be any obvious visible symptoms, but the reaction will manifest in other ways. Nausea, diarrhea, stomach cramps, dizziness and even trouble breathing are all additional symptoms of an allergic reaction to a bee sting.
What To Do
The safest thing to do if someone is displaying signs of an allergic reaction to a sting is dial 911 and seek hospitalization immediately. One of the most effective treatments for a sting reaction is an injection of epinephrine.
However, unless a person is already aware of the allergic condition, and carries an epinephrine shot for just such emergencies, it’s unlikely that anyone else in the area will be able to safely treat an allergic reaction.
Stay safe during the summer, or, if you want extra peace of mind, have yourself and other family members medically tested for these allergies to be sure.