Insect sting allergy

 
Contributed by : Ravina Sewani   
Insect sting allergy

Insect sting allergy can get very serious sometimes. It is better to stay cautious to keep your child safe.

  • The allergic reactions in a child are triggered against an insect’s sting and not against an insect’s bite.
  • An immune response is triggered against the venom from the sting which the body perceives as a threat.
  • An allergic reaction against insect’s sting is also known to cause severe reaction – anaphylaxis.
  • The allergic reaction includes pain, redness, and swelling which might extend beyond the sting site.
  • As treatment, paediatricians usually prescribe antihistamine medicines for mild allergic reactions. Whereas for severe allergic reactions like anaphylaxis, your child’s paediatrician will prescribe an adrenaline auto-injector (AAI).


Severe allergic reactions are usually caused by these stinging insects:

  • Honey bees found in honeycombs.
  • Wasps living under leaves, shrubs, logs and woodpiles.
  • Fire ants living in large mounds on the ground.
  • Biting insects like mosquitoes, bed bugs, fleas, etc. cause localised allergic reactions.
  • A local reaction to an insect bite due to the chemicals from insect’s saliva is not the same as an allergic reaction to the venom from the sting.
  • When an insect has stung your child, remove the stinger as soon as possible to prevent more venom entering the body.
  • Quickly wash the sting site on the skin with soap and water immediately to disinfect the area. Apply ice on the sting site to reduce the swelling, if any.
  • If your child has a history of allergic reactions against insects, avoid going to places where insects are present with your child.
  • Once diagnosed, your child’s paediatrician will usually prescribe antihistamine medicines and an adrenaline auto-injector in case of severe reactions.
  • Your child’s paediatrician may recommend venom immunotherapy based on your child’s medical history of developing allergic reactions against insect sting.


Symptoms:

  • Itching
  • Rashes
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Swelling of the lips or tongue or face
  • Throat constriction
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Allergies may sometimes also cause a life-threatening reaction called anaphylaxis which constricts the airway passage and requires immediate medical attention.


Diagnosis:

  • Always get your child diagnosed by a healthcare expert and never on your own. Never self-assume that your child has peanut allergy. Commercial home test kits for self-diagnosis are not recommended as they may not be of the required standards.
  • Your child’s paediatrician may recommend that your child undertake tests like skin prick test, blood test or food/drug challenge. It is important that these tests are performed under medical supervision as these tests might trigger an allergic reaction. Along with these tests, your child’s paediatrician will also examine your child's medical/family history, existing conditions like asthma and eczema.



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