Rosalyn Carson-DeWitt, MD
Allergies are abnormal or adverse reactions to a substance. Insect allergies are a reaction to insect stings or bites. It can also occur with exposure to such insects in an environment.
Stinging insects include:
Biting insects include:
Insects that cause respiratory allergies include:
Other factors that may increase your chance of insect allergies include:
An allergy to biting and stinging insects can affect the area around the bite or sting and cause:
can be a life-threatening reaction that causes:
Some insects cause respiratory allergies that result in:
You will be asked about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. Most diagnoses are based on a history of a reaction after a sting. For those with a severe insect allergy, stings may be life-threatening. Therefore, it is important to see an allergist or immunologist (doctor who specializes in allergies).
Some reactions cause trouble breathing. In this case, call for emergency medical services.
Treatment may include:
To reduce your chance of having an allergic reaction to either biting or stinging insects:
To reduce your chance of having an allergic reaction to insects that provoke respiratory responses:
American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology
Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians
About Kids Health—The Hospital for Sick Children
Hymenoptera sting allergy. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated January 6, 2014. Accessed September 23, 2015.
Insect sting allergy. American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology website. Available at:
http://www.acaai.org/allergist/allergies/Types/insect-sting-allergies/Pages/default.aspx. Accessed September 23, 2015.
Rank MA, Li JT. Allergen immunotherapy.
Mayo Clin Proc.
Last reviewed September 2015 by Marcin Chwistek, MD
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