Should Children And Adults Get Allergy Shots If They Have A Reaction To Bee Stings?

Dr. Marc Riedl answers the question: 'Allergy Shots For Bee Stings?'

ByABC News
March 25, 2008, 2:19 PM

— -- Question: Should children and adults get allergy shots if they have a reaction to bee stings?

Answer: The appropriate treatment for reactions to bee or wasp stings can be quite complex and it's important that each individual discuss the details of their case with their physician. But generally there's two important factors to consider -- the age of the patient and the type of reaction that occurred after the sting.

For children, allergy shots -- or venom immunotherapy -- should be considered if the child has a respiratory reaction, such as an asthma attack, or a serious systemic reaction like anaphylactic shock.

For adults, venom immunotherapy should be considered if they have a respiratory reaction, serious anaphylactic shock, or if they have diffused hives -- break out in a rash immediately after the sting.

In cases where venom immunotherapy is being considered, it's important to see your physician and get the appropriate testing done to determine whether you'll benefit from venom immunotherapy. And in the cases where allergy shots are used appropriately, they are quite effective.

Studies show that using a venom immunotherapy in the appropriate circumstances will reduce the rate of reaction. In those who were untreated, there's an up to 70 percent chance that they'll have a serious reaction with a subsequent sting. With the use of venom immunotherapy you reduce that reaction rate to less than 5 percent. So this treatment is quite effective if you use it in the proper individuals.

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