Are you suffering from a venom allergy in Elgin?
The honeybee is arguably the most beneficial of insects. Aside from making 200 million pounds of honey annually, it is estimated that bees pollinate 50 percent of all fruits and vegetables. Imagine how limited our diets would be without them!
Yet in the one percent of the population with allergies to insect venom, these bees and four other types of stinging insects inspire fear. The venom from yellow jackets, paper wasps, hornets, and fire ants, also contain proteins that affect the skin and immune system. These proteins cause pain and swelling in anyone. In those with allergies, serious discomfort, swelling, and immune reactions can occur. It is estimated at least 50 people die each year from an allergic reaction to insect venom.
Mild reactions usually only last a few hours, typically, as long as you remove the venom-containing stinger, a little ice or cold compress can ease the pain and swelling.
Even if you’ve had little reaction from a sting in the past, serious reactions to succeeding stings are possible. For those more moderate reactions, angrier redness and bigger swelling can happen. These symptoms may persist for several days but should resolve within about a week and a half. A cold compress may not be enough to ease discomfort. You may also need hydrocortisone cream, calamine lotion, or Benadryl.
You can have a moderate reaction the first time you are stung and later have a serious reaction requiring emergency treatment. Serious symptoms include:
- Flushed, pale skin
- Weak pulse
Some individuals may immediately suffer life-threatening anaphylaxis, which includes:
- Airway constriction
- Tongue, throat swelling
- Sensation of a lump in the throat
- Fainting, loss of consciousness
Again, just because you didn’t have as serious of a reaction the first time around doesn’t mean you wouldn’t the next time. It’s estimated those with a severe reaction are 30 to 60 percent more likely to have anaphylaxis the next time they’re stung.
Working with you, Drs. Noga Askenazi and Eugenia Hahn accurately diagnose the cause of your allergies. With proper diagnosis, an effective prevention strategy may be developed, and side effects may be minimized.
Immunotherapy involves exposing you to very small amounts of the allergen, so your body builds tolerance to it over time. This can reduce or eliminate immune system sensitivity. It’s also not enough to have an epinephrine delivery device on hand. You, your family members, and friends should all know how to use the device in the event of an emergency.
It’s also a good idea to wear a bracelet that alerts emergency responders to any allergens you may have. Call Advanced Allergy & Asthma Associates and Food Allergy Center of Illinois to find out more about your venom allergy in Elgin. Schedule an appointment at (847) 888-8802.Back to Patient Education Page