These five insects – hornets, honeybees, wasps, yellow jackets and fire ants – are known to cause allergic reactions to the venom injected into the skin. While most people are not allergic to insect venom, the pain and irritation from a sting can distract from the severity of the sting. Knowing the difference between a normal reaction and an allergic reaction is critical.
1. TYPES OF REACTIONS
- Normal – Causes pain, swelling, and redness around the sting site.
- Large Local Reaction – causes swelling that extends beyond the sting site.
- Anaphylactic Reaction – Trouble breathing, rapid pulse, hives and rashes beyond the sting, wheezing or trouble swallowing.
- Pimple-like spots/hives
- Mild to moderate swelling
- Trouble breathing
- Swelling- face, throat, mouth
- Wheezing or trouble swallowing
- Rapid pulse
- Wash the stung area with soap and water, then apply an antiseptic.
- Apply a soothing ointment, like a hydrocortisone cream.
- Apply an ice pack or cold compress to the area.
- Take an over-the-counter oral antihistamine to ease itching, swelling, and hives.
- Wear shoes and socks when outdoors.
- Avoid wearing perfumes or brightly colored clothing.
- Consider using screens on windows and doors at home.
- Avoid or remove insect-attracting plants and vines growing in and around the home.