Question: When is it necessary to call my doctor or 911 when I have an allergic reaction to an insect sting?
Answer: The most important time to recognize the need for medical attention is when you have a systemic reaction, an internal reaction that causes throat swelling. For example, feeling a lump in the throat or trouble swallowing or trouble breathing or a choking sensation or a drop in blood pressure that makes people feel light headed or dizzy like they're going to pass out or in fact unconsciousness.
The important part is to recognize it early because waiting too long to get treated can be very dangerous. So if you get stung, and I should mention that these reactions are fairly rapid in onset, meaning that if you get stung and within five or ten minutes you start to feel a lump in your throat or light headed or dizzy, this is a medical emergency. You should call 911 and get emergency medical treatment.
On the other hand, if you get itchy all over or breakout in hives, that's an external reaction or large swelling, that's not immediately dangerous. And you might call your doctor to ask what medication to take or how to ease the symptoms. But the dangerous ones are the throat or the dizziness which require emergency medical attention.