For a child who is allergic, insect stings can cause serious and sometimes even deadly reactions. Insects that can trigger allergic reactions include honeybees, yellow jackets, hornets, wasps, and fire ants. When they sting, they inject venom into the skin.
Allergic reactions to stings normally don’t occur when a child is stung for the first time. The reaction usually occurs when the child is stung for a second time, or even later.
If your child has been diagnosed with an insect sting allergy, keep injectable epinephrine on hand in case of a severe reaction. This is one medicine that doctors prescribe. Moreover, talk with your child’s doctor about seeing an allergy specialist to discuss the possibility of allergy shots.
Signs and symptoms of insect sting allergy
When someone is allergic to insect stings, the body’s immune system overreacts to proteins in the insect’s venom. When stung, the body sees these proteins as harmful invaders. The release of these chemicals can cause your child to have certain symptoms including:
Treatment of insect sting allergy
Most insect bites
and stings are treated by:
- Washing the affected area with soap and water
- Placing a cold compress over the area to minimize inflammation
Try not to scratch the affected area to avoid infection
. If your child is in pain or the area is swollen, give him/her painkillers such as paracetamol
. If your child has a more serious reaction, consult a general practitioner
who may refer you to an allergy specialist for immunotherapy.
Preventive tips for insect sting allergy
The best way to prevent allergic reactions
to insect stings is to avoid getting stung in the first place. Teach your child to:
- Avoid walking barefoot while on the grass.
- Avoid playing in areas where insects like to be, such as flower beds.
- Avoid drinking from open soda or juice cans and keep food covered when eating outside. Check for insects in drink cups and straws when outside.
- Remain calm and quiet around stinging insects.
- Never disturb an insect nest. Have an exterminator get rid of nests near your home.
- When in wooded areas, keep as covered up as possible. Long-sleeved shirts, long pants, socks, and closed-toe shoes can help keep the bugs away.
- Avoid perfumes, scented body products, and brightly coloured and flowered clothing because they all attract insects.