Common Bee Sting & Insect Bite Reactions

December 24, 2021

Several insects in nature can deliver a bite or sting that could trigger an allergic reaction in someone who is sensitive to the toxin injected into the skin. What makes a bite or sting an allergic reaction? Most individuals do not have an allergic reaction to an insect bite or sting. Moreover, not all insect bites and stings trigger allergies. Still, it’s important to spot an allergic reaction if you get by one insect or another.

AFC Urgent Care Stoneham can treat all allergic reactions that are not life-threatening. If you or a loved one experience a severe allergic reaction, such as anaphylaxis, call 911 immediately.

Insects that Bite or Sting

Stinging insects include:

  • Bees
  • Wasps
  • Scorpions
  • Fire ants
  • Hornets
  • Yellow-jackets

Biting insects include:

  • Mosquito
  • Fire ants
  • Flea
  • Bedbug
  • Fly
  • Ticks
  • Lice
  • Spider
  • Horseflies

Different Types of Reactions

Insect bite or sting can trigger a different reaction in a different person, from mild to severe. However, generally speaking, there are three possible reactions from a sting or bite:

  1. Normal reaction: This typically features pain, redness, and swelling in the sting site. This reaction is generally treated using home remedies. Be sure to remove the stinger and wash the affected area with soap and water. Use ice to minimize pain and swelling and take antihistamines to reduce itching.
  2. Significant localized reaction: This reaction results in swelling that goes beyond the sting site. For example, an individual stung in the wrist may have swelling of the whole arm. After 48 hours, large local reactions begin to improve over 5-10 days gradually.
  3. Severe allergic reaction: An anaphylactic reaction is the most concerning response, although it’s not typical. It’s an emergency that requires immediate medical care. Symptoms of an anaphylactic reaction include:
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Rash-like hives that are red and itchy that extend past the sting site
  • Wheezing
  • Rapid Pulse
  • Drop in blood pressure and dizziness

When to Seek Medical Attention

Seek medical attention if:

  • Symptoms fail to improve after a few days or worsen
  • Bitten or stung in the mouth or throat, or on the face near your eyes
  • Area of around 10cm around the bite site is red and swollen
  • Present symptoms of wound infection, from pus to swelling, or widespread infection like high temperature
  • Experience anaphylactic reaction- severe allergic reaction
  • Wheezing or trouble breathing
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Swollen mouth and throat
  • Rapid heart rate

Insect bites and stings may cause an allergic reaction in some people. The reaction may vary from mild to severe and could also vary from person to person. Knowing if you’re having an allergic reaction can help you to take the right steps toward seeking treatment.

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