Severe allergic reactions to insect
stings are reported by about 0.5% of
the population in the United States.
Fortunately, localized pain, itching,
and swelling the most common
consequences of an insect bite-can
be treated with
first aid kit.
What to Look For
A rule of thumb is that the sooner
symptoms develop after a sting, the
more serious the reaction will be.
What to Do
Most people who have been stung can be
treated on site, and everyone should
know what to do if a life-threatening
allergic reaction (anaphylaxis)
occurs. In particular, those who have
had a severe reaction to an insect
sting should be instructed on what
they can do to protect themselves.
They also should be advised to wear a
medical-alert identification tag
stating they are insects allergic.
the sting site to see if a stinger and
are embedded in the skin. Bees are the
only stinging insects that leave their
stingers and venom sacs behind If the
stinger is still embedded, remove it
or it will continue to inject poison
for two or three minutes. Scrape the
stinger and venom sac Honeybee
away with a hard object such as a long
fingernail, credit card, scissor edge,
or knife blade. If applied in the first
three minutes, a Sawyer ExtractorTM
can remove a portion of the venom.
2. Wash the sting site with soap and
water to prevent infection.
3. Apply an ice pack over the sting
site to slow absorption of the venom
and relieve pain. Because bee venom is
acidic, paste made of baking soda and ,water can help. Sodium bicarbonate is
an alkalinizj acting agent that draws out fluid and
Wasp venom, on the other hand, is
alkaline, so apply vinegar or lemon
4. To further relieve pain and
itching, some type of pain medication
usually is adequate. A topical steroid
cream, such as hydrocortisone, can
help combat local swelling and
itching. An antihistamil may prevent
some local symptoms and later
reactions if given early, but it works
too slowly to coun teract a
life-threatening allergic reaction.
5. Observe the victim for at least 30
minutes for sign! of an allergic
reaction. Epinephrine is an effective,treatment for a person with a severe
allergic reaction. A person with a
known allergy to insect sting should
have a physician-prescribed emergency
kit that includes prefilled syringes
of epinephrine. Because epinephrine
is short -acting, watch the victim
closely for signs of returning
anaphylaxis. Inject, other dose of
epinephrine as often as every 15 minutes if needed, available, and
consistent with the
directions for use in the kit.