You are in your yard when all of a sudden you hear buzzing and by the time you know it, you have been stung by an insect; hopefully you do not have insect sting allergies, but if you do, it is time to get treatment. Most people do not like insects and are scared of them. Anytime you hear that famous buzzing sound; you get to swatting and running. Not everyone is allergic to insect stings, but everyone has reactions to insect stings. You may confuse insect sting reactions to allergic reactions, but when you have an allergic reaction to insect stings, it can be very serious.
Allergies are a result of an immune response. Most of the time, allergens are not harmful to the body at all, but the body responds to it like it is. Insect stings are slightly different because they are naturally harmful to the body. When you get stung, the venom in insects creates symptoms. When you have an allergic reaction, the immune system gets involved. The immune system responds by creating IgE antibodies to attack the allergen. The antibodies connect with the venom and creates histamines. These histamines create symptoms that may be very severe.
You do not have to have insect allergies to react to a sting. Venom is poisonous to the body, and that is what an insect sting involves. When you get stung, your body naturally responds by creating inflammation and redness. The spot you got stung will be painful. It may also burn. Sometimes stings create pain that spreads to other areas of the body. You may be alarmed, but it is not severe, and will eventually go away. Multiple stings all over the body can be very dangerous. Having too much venom in the body can kill you. Allergic reactions to stings are life-threatening. Just one sting in a person that is allergic has the same reaction as 20 stings in a person that is not.
Certain insects create more severe reactions than others. Most common insect stings are from:
- Yellow Jackets
- Fire ants
These insects create the worst reactions. Insect sting symptoms include:
- Trouble breathing
- Rapid pulse
You may only have one of these symptoms or a mixture of all of these symptoms. Hives are not the worst reaction you can have, but when you have difficulty breathing, it is serious. Anytime you have an allergic reaction to an insect sting; you must get immediate medical attention. Most allergens only produce mild symptoms. An insect sting, even if it is only one, produces severe symptoms. The symptoms happen very quickly. The more stings you get, the worse your symptoms become.
Nearly 2 million people have severe allergic reactions. The best way to save your life is knowing what to do in response to an allergic reaction. If you are stung by something with a stinger, you should remove it. Whenever an insect stings you, they keep the stinger inside of you. The stinger is what contains the venom. Removing the stinger immediately cuts down on the amount of venom that gets into your system. Clean the area immediately with soap and water. Ice packs can help decrease the swelling from the sting.
If your allergy to insects is serious, you do not have time for all these steps. You should try to remove the stinger first and then get an epinephrine shot immediately. The epinephrine stops the production of more severe symptoms, but only temporarily. For this reason, you must get medical attention so that they can get real treatment. There are risks with using this medication, but the life-saving possibility of it outweighs any other risk. Risks from epinephrine include chest pain, seizure, and possibly fainting. These things are not guaranteed; it is only a possible side effect.
It is good to keep an epinephrine kit with you in the case of an insect sting. You do not want to be without it. Insect stings can be avoided. If you are in your yard, you should avoid wearing perfume and scents that will attract insects. Also, wear long sleeves and pants, especially while cutting grass and stuff. A sting can get through clothes, but it just adds a layer of protection. Be aware of your surroundings. Stay away from areas that these insects are prevalent. When swimming, you also have to be very cautious. If you can, try to stay indoors during physical activity. If not, try to spray bug repellent beforehand.
Insect stings are a serious problem that can be completely avoided. Insect stings are not something that happens every day. When they do, it is usually by surprise. Insects can sneak up on you out of nowhere, and if you are not paying attention, you will get stung. Do your best to stay away from insects you are allergic to. Make sure to keep your medicine close by just in case. Be aware of your surroundings is the best thing to do to avoid being stung.
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