Monday, June 22, 2015

Insect Allergy- What You Need to Know.

 Spending times outdoors this season is such a pleasure, but being bitten by insects can put a damper outside activities.
This is what you need to know now to protect yourself from reactions to insects.
What are signs and symptoms of an insect bite?
·       Pain, swelling and redness confined to the sting site
·       Intense itching at the site.
·       In severe cases, insect bites can cause severe allergic reactions that can result in death.
When Should You Be Worried about An Insect Sting?  
·       There are 3 types of reactions an insect can cause:  a local reaction, a large, local reaction and a systemic allergic reaction.
·       A normal local reaction will result in pain, swelling and redness confined to the sting site.
·       A large local reaction will result in swelling well beyond the sting site. For example, a sting on the forearm could cause the whole arm to swell - a condition that usually peaks two to three days after the sting and can last a week or more.
·       A systemic allergic reaction is the most serious and requires medical attention. Symptoms of a systemic allergic reaction can range from mild to severe.
·       If you’re worried at all, seek immediate medical advice.

What’s Most Likely to Bite Us?
·       Mosquitos, fleas, chiggers, and bed bugs- most likely will cause a local allergic reaction.
·       Wasps, yellow jackets, hornets, and bees are the cause of the majority of insect stings- sting insects that can cause a local and/or total body allergic reaction.  About 3 out of 100 adults have severe allergy to flying insects resulting in potentially deadly reaction. 
·       Fire Ants (red or black) - extend from the southern US up into NY.  Bites from these insects typically cause a blistering reaction.
How Can you Prevent Insect Stings/Bites?
  • Always wear shoes when walking in the grass. Many bees burrow in the ground and you can unsuspectingly step into their nest.
  • Wear bug sprays like Off or Deet.  Wary of harsh chemicals?  Geraniums and citronella are natural mosquito propellants.
  • Don’t drink from open soft drink cans; stinging insects are attracted to them and may crawl inside.
  • Cover food when eating outside.
  • Don’t use sweet-smelling perfume, hairspray or deodorant.
  • Avoid wearing brightly colored clothing with flowery patterns.
  • Protect your legs, arms and body with long pants/long-sleeved shirts when working outside.
  • Use caution near bushes, attics and picnic areas. 
How can you Treat Insect Bites?
Local and large local reactions can most likely be treated with OTC anti-histamines and topical steroids.  Some large local reactions will need medical care.
Systemic allergic reactions ALWAYS require medical attention.  Lifesaving epinephrine may be administered.  If you have a reaction, seek treatment from an allergist.  They have treatment that can potentially you of your insect sting.   

Need more help or have questions?  Schedule anappointment here.

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