Allergies to Insect Stings (Bee Stings)

Anyone can develop bee and wasp stings allergy, nevertheless those most possible to develop bee allergic are bee keepers. Those who work in gardens are also more possible to become either wasp or bee allergic. It is rare to be allergic to both insects.

Insect stings are more common in children, but children seem to be less possible to experience severe reactions. While severe reactions can occur as a sting result, deaths from stings are very infrequent, and mostly affect older people. Most people live through sting allergy reactions, even if they obtain no effective treatment, so DON’T FEAR.


Localized reactions

Swelling at the sting site, this can be more than 10 cm in diameter and last for more than 24 hours. The rest of the limb may be involved, but no generalized symptoms are existent. These reactions are more common in children than in adults.

Mild systemic reactions

These reactions are characterized by skin swelling and hives, in an area of skin, distant from the sting. Children facing these reactions are not assumed to be considerably at danger of upcoming life-threatening reactions associated to others. Though, in older children and adults, such reactions are considered to be a danger factor for a forthcoming severe reaction.

Moderate / severe systemic reactions (Anaphylaxis)

Any or all of the ensuing symptoms may be present:

  • Throat and mouth swelling.
  • Swallowing or speaking difficulty.
  • Breathing trouble - due to severe asthma or throat swelling.
  • Hives anywhere on the body, particularly large hives.
  • Generalized skin flushing.
  • Abdominal cramps, nausea and vomiting.
  • Abrupt feeling of weakness (drop in blood pressure).
  • Collapse and unconsciousness.

The anaphylaxis symptoms happen as the sting causes the allergy-producing chemicals (mediators) release into the blood which can affect the whole body and in specific, the breathing and blood circulation.


Insect allergy should be confirmed by allergen specific IgE antibody in blood measurement (this includes no danger to the patient), though the blood tests are not 100% consistent. Note that skin prick testing is not reliable for bees and wasps allergy diagnosing, and generally skin tests must be performed which include a small injection below the skin, known as an intradermal injection. This can be a little hurting, but is not known to cause anaphylaxis when performed according to approved rules.

As people at danger of future of severe reactions must be given an adrenaline auto-injector device and taught how to use these, it is important to be referred to an Allergy Specialist.


In reducing the risk of future stings, tactics to evade bees and wasps can be operative:

  • Bees typically only sting in defense. The finest shield is light colored clothing, covering much of the body (mostly the feet) and evading scents.
  • Bees are engrossed to bright colors and scents. Don’t obscure them by fantasizing to be a flower! Evade wearing perfumes, bright colors and flowery prints.
  • Wasps incline to nest in logs, walls or underground. They are normally more hostile than bees and are appealed to food and drink, so don’t drink carelessly from drink cans when outside.
  • Stings often happen on bare feet so people with bites or stings allergies must at all times wear shoes when out-of-doors.
  • Wear long sleeves, long trousers and gloves if gardening.
  • Avoid infuriating bees and wasps.
  • Have close nests removed by professionals.
  • If you are bees or wasps allergic, drive with the windows up and the air conditioner on.


If the stinger has been left behind, it can be useful to remove it lightly in order to stop extra venom discharge. Do not pull it out with your fingers, and this may crush the venom sac causing the reverse effect. It is best to flick the stinger out with your nail. Normally speaking, wasps do not leave their stinger behind, this means that they may sting you more than once. If likely, place an icepack on the stung area and preferably sit down or lie down, mainly if feeling weak.

Localized reactions (involving swelling of affected area, urticaria and reddening):

Use a non-sedating, quick acting antihistamine as directed by your doctor or pharmacist. Large local reactions can also be cured with oral steroid tablets 20-30 mg prednisolone as soon as one is stung and recurring daily for up to 3 days. These tablets will need to be prescribed by your doctor.

Anaphylactic reactions:

  • If an adrenaline (epinephrine) auto-injector device is accessible, use it instantly.
  • Keep the patient lying back and remain with them. Don’t let them stand up or walk.
  • If they have not improved in 5 minutes, give a second adrenaline injection, if accessible.
  • Even if the patient improves fast, they must still go to hospital for observation in case of late or recurring reactions.
  • If the patient has an asthma blue inhaler, they must use it AFTERWARD the injection. But do not adjourn the adrenaline injection administering.


Many allergy clinics offer desensitization. This contains diluted wasp or bee venom injections at steady intervals, generally regularly after a first build-up course, for up to 3 years. For dropping the severe reaction danger to an insect sting in the future, Desensitization is a very effective way, but must be performed in a hospital as there is a trivial reaction risk to the injection.

Useful tips

  • Tell teachers/work colleagues and occupational health consultants of your insect allergy, and treatment essential.
  • Shun walking shoeless on grass.
  • Don’t pick up dropped fruit; the side you cannot see may have a wasp in it.
  • Get expert aid, if there is a wasps’ nest in or adjacent to your home.

Self-Care at Home

  • Most simple insect stings in a non-allergic person need no more than first aid at home.
  • By wearing protective clothing, using insect repellant, and avoiding infested areas avoid extra stings.
  • Eliminate any stingers residual in the skin (most probable from bees) instantly. Some experts commend scraping out the stinger with a credit card. But, it is perhaps more vital to get the stinger out as fast as probable, than to be exceedingly anxious about how it is removed.
  • Use of ice to the sting site may offer some slight relief. Ice may be applied for 20 minutes once every hour as required. Cloth should be positioned between the ice and skin to evade skin freezing.
  • For itching, think taking an antihistamine such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl).
  • For pain relief, consider taking ibuprofen (Motrin) or acetaminophen (Tylenol) as desired.
  • Wash-down the sting site with soap and water. On the sting spot place an antibiotic ointment.
  • If it has been further than 10 years ever since your last tetanus booster immunization, get a booster within the next few days.

Furthermost insect stings require no further medical care. Extra serious reactions may require prompt medical care.

Look for medical care; if you formerly had a serious allergic reaction, by a bee or wasp sting. The moment likely, ponder taking an antihistamine such as diphenhydramine. If earlier prescribed by a doctor, deliberate using the epinephrine (EpiPen), if any allergic symptoms develop.