Stings from hymenoptera (group of insects) including honey bees, white faced hornets, yellow faced hornets, paper wasps and yellowjackets are known to cause allergic reactions when venom is injected into the skin.
Typical insect sting reactions can cause pain, swelling and redness at the site of the sting. An allergic reaction to an insect sting can include:
- Swelling (at the site and occasionally beyond)
- Anaphylaxis (shortness of breath, swollen lips, swollen tongue, weak pulse)
Diagnosis of a stinging insect allergy includes: a thorough history with questions about previous stings and previous reactions to those stings, a physical examination by your provider, and a blood test to check for IgE antibodies to stinging insects including honey bees, white faced hornets, yellow faced hornets, paper wasps and yellow jackets.
- Avoidance of insect known to cause allergy
- Epinephrine auto-injector (as directed by prescribing provider)
- Venom Immunotherapy
Venom immunotherapy is another term for stinging insect allergy shot. The process includes injecting a very small amount of the insect venom each week and slowly increasing the dose, which desensitizes the patient over time. The end goal is to decrease the risk for a serious systemic reaction if the patient is stung by the insect again.
This office uses the traditional build-up scale. Patients will need 15 weekly injections to escalate to maintenance therapy. Once the patient reaches maintenance injections will continue at weekly intervals for four weeks, and then will move to a maintenance injection every four weeks.