- Allergic reaction to insect bites
- Insect bites: symptoms of an acute allergic reaction
- How treat a normal and local allergic reaction on insect bites
- Allergic reaction on insect bites: methods of treatment
- How to avoid an insect bite?
- Self-help kits with insect bites
- How to prevent the appearance of an allergic reaction?
Allergic reaction to insect bites
Bees, wasps, hornets and fiery ants are insects, the bites of which most often cause an allergic reaction. However, most people do not have allergies to insect bites and they can confuse the usual reaction to an insect bite and allergic one. Knowing the difference between these two conditions, you can avoid unnecessary anxiety and visit to the doctor.
The severity of reaction to an insect bite is individual for each person. There are three types of reaction to a bite of an insect – normal, local and allergic.
Symptoms with a normal reaction include pain, swelling and redness around the bite site.
A wide local reaction will cause swelling on a large area of the skin. For example, if the bite falls on the ankle, the whole leg can swell up. Such a reaction can scare, but, as a rule, it is no more serious than a normal reaction.
The most acute reaction to an insect bite is allergic (described below). If the bite of an insect caused such a reaction, you should immediately call a doctor.
Insect bites: symptoms of an acute allergic reaction
Symptoms of an acute allergic reaction (anaphylactic reaction) may include one or more of the following:
- Labored breathing
- Urticaria, manifested in the form of a red itchy rash and spreading beyond the bite site
- Swelling of the face, throat or mouth
- Shortness of breath or shortness of breath
- Rapid pulse
- Dizziness or a sharp drop in blood pressure.
Despite the fact that acute allergic reactions do not occur so often, yet, in 10 minutes they can lead to shock, cardiac arrest and loss of consciousness. Such a reaction, threatening human life, can arise in a few minutes after the bite. If an acute allergic reaction occurs, call a doctor immediately.
A moderate allergic reaction to an insect bite can cause one or more of the symptoms listed below:
- Slight swelling
- Elevated temperature at the bite site
If a person has an allergic reaction to an insect bite, the likelihood that it will repeat or become stronger with the next bite is 60%.
How treat a normal and local allergic reaction on insect bites
If the insect stings in the hand, you must immediately remove the ring from your fingers.
After a sting of a bee, as a rule, in a skin there is a small bag with a poison and a sting. It is necessary to remove the sting for 30 seconds so as not to be exposed to further poison. Carefully remove the poison bag and sting with a fingernail or a hard object, such as a credit card. Do not squeeze the pouch and do not pull the sting – this will lead to more intense secretion of the poison into the skin.
Wash the bite site with soap and water, then apply antiseptic.
Apply a soothing ointment, such as hydrocortisone cream or calamine lotion, to the bite site, and apply a dry sterile bandage.
If a swelling occurs, apply ice or a cold compress to the bite site.
Reduce the itching, swelling and rash will help antihistamine. However, this drug should not be given to children under 2 years old or pregnant without a doctor’s consultation.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as Ibuprofen, will help relieve pain. Pregnant women should consult their physician before taking any over-the-counter drugs.
Also, read the leaflet and the label of any medicine before taking. Parents and people who are already taking medications should consult a doctor about the particularities of taking this or that drug.
Allergic reaction on insect bites: methods of treatment
The allergic reaction is treated with epinephrine (adrenaline), which is administered alone by the patient, or by a doctor. As a rule, injections of epinephrine prevent the development of an acute allergic reaction.
In some cases, droppers, oxygen therapy and other procedures are necessary. Sometimes, when a person’s condition stabilizes, he needs to stay in the hospital for the night under the supervision of a doctor. People who have previously experienced allergic reactions should always have epinephrine. Nevertheless, medical care is recommended for insect bites, since one dose of epinephrine may not be enough to stop the allergic reaction.
How to avoid an insect bite?
Our tips will help you avoid an insect bite:
- Learn to identify nests of insects and avoid them. Aspen nests are most often found in earthen embankments, old logs, walls. The bees nest in the hives. Hornets nest in bushes, trees and buildings.
- While in the open air, wear socks and shoes.
- Wear shirts, blouses with long sleeves, long pants, socks and shoes, being out of town or in wooded areas.
- Do not use perfume and do not wear clothes of bright colors – this, as a rule, attracts insects.
- If you suffer from acute allergic reactions, never remain alone during long walks, boat trips, swimming and other outdoor activities, as you may need emergency medical care if you are bitten by an insect.
- Put the nets against insects on the windows and doors. Use remedies that repel insects. Spray a little of the aerosol cleaner from the insects in the bedroom before you go to bed.
- Garbage cans are regularly treated with aerosol from insects, keep them closed.
- Avoid or remove altogether plants and climbing plants that attract insects growing in and around the house.
People with acute allergic reactions to insect bites should always have special self-help kits (described below) in case of acute symptoms.
Self-help kits with insect bites
Self-help kits with insect bites containing epinephrine should be used immediately after bite before you receive medical care. The most common is Epi-pen (Epi-pen). However, the drug can not be an appropriate substitute for medical intervention – it is still necessary to call a doctor after an insect bite. Epinephrine may not be enough to prevent a serious, life-threatening, allergic reaction, it can also cause side effects in people with heart disease and those taking certain medications.
Epi-pen is dispensed by prescription. Before using, consult your doctor, informing him of the medications you are taking to avoid medication interactions.
How to prevent the appearance of an allergic reaction?
An allergic reaction to an insect bite can be prevented with the help of injections against allergies (immunotherapy). The effectiveness of treatment to prevent the occurrence of allergies in the future is 97%. A person exposed to allergies is injected with gradually increasing doses of poison, which makes his immune system resistant to allergic reactions in the future.
If you have an allergic reaction, consult an allergist, a doctor who diagnoses and treats allergic diseases. Based on your medical history and test results, the allergist will determine if you need immunotherapy.