How Are Stinging Insect Allergies Treated?

Question: How are stinging insect allergies treated?

Answer: Treatment of insect sting allergy can mean treating the reaction or treatment to prevent reactions. Treating a large swelling is not easy because antihistamines like Benadryl really don't do that much. They might ease the itching but they don't make the swelling go down. Icepacks and cold compresses can help limit the swelling, but that means applying icepacks quickly after the sting and on and off for some hours to try to prevent the buildup of the swelling.

But an extreme swelling, if you call your doctor, the doctor might recommend a few days of prednisone or cortisone steroid pills to try to help shrink the swelling. It will go away by itself in five to ten days and doesn't really require treatment.

But internal allergic reactions like throat swelling or trouble breathing or dizziness are a medical emergency. And the only antidote is an injection of epinephrine or adrenalin which the doctor can administer.

People who know they have this allergy, the doctor might prescribe an epinephrine injector, a spring-loaded injector that you can use yourself to treat your reaction if it should come on. But maybe more importantly for people who've had those kinds of severe allergic reactions, the doctor should recommend an allergy evaluation because the allergist may recommend an immunization program -- venom immunotherapy to build up a resistance to the sting so there would be almost no chance of a severe reaction to a sting.

Next: If I Have Been Stung By A Bee And Had An Allergic Reaction, Am I At Risk Of Reacting Again?

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