Experts estimate that 2 million Americans are allergic to insect stings, and many of these individuals are at risk of suffering life-threatening reactions to insect venom especially to Honey bee, Wasp, Yellow Jacket, Hornet and Fire Ants. Vaccine for these insects (Venom immunotherapy) is 98% successful, means highly effective and is a life saver in most off the venom sensitive patients.
Insect stings send more than 500,000 Americans to hospital emergency rooms every year, and cause at least 50 known deaths each year.
The most serious reaction to an insect sting is an allergic one. This condition requires immediate medical attention. Symptoms of an allergic reaction may include one or more of the following:
An even more severe allergic reaction, or anaphylaxis, can occur within minutes after the sting and may be life-threatening. Symptoms may include:
Life-threatening allergic reactions can progress very rapidly and require immediate medical attention. Emergency treatment usually includes administration of certain drugs, such as epinephrine, antihistamines, and in some cases, corticosteroids, intravenous fluids, oxygen and other treatments. Once stabilized, these patients sometimes require close observation in the hospital overnight.
Injectable epinephrine (EpiPenÂ® or TwinJectÂ®) for self-administration is often prescribed as emergency rescue medication for treating an allergic reaction. People who have had previous allergic reactions and rely on epinephrine must remember to carry it with them at all times. Also, because one dose may not be enough to reverse the reaction, immediate medical attention following an insect sting is recommended.
The long-term treatment of insect sting allergy is called venom immunotherapy, a highly effective program administered by an allergist-immunologist, which can prevent future allergic reactions to insect stings.
Venom immunotherapy involves administering gradually increasing doses of venom to decrease a patient's sensitivity to the venom. This can reduce the risk of a future allergic reaction to that of the general population. In a matter of weeks to months, people who previously lived under the constant threat of severe reactions to insect stings can return to leading normal lives.
The long-term treatment of fire ant sting allergy is called whole body extract immunotherapy, that contains the entire body of the ant, not just the venom, as is the case with other stinging insects. It is a highly effective program administered by an allergist-immunologist, which can prevent future allergic reactions to fire ant stings. At this time, we are not able to milk venom from fire ants.
Whole body extract immunotherapy involves administering gradually increasing doses of extract to decrease a patient's sensitivity to the fire ant sting. This can reduce the risk of a future allergic reaction to that of the general population. In a matter of weeks to months, people who previously lived under the constant threat of severe reactions to fire ant stings can return to leading normal lives.
Avoidance tactics are the first line of defense to insect stings. People with allergies to insect stings should:
Stinging insects such as bees, wasps, hornets and yellow jackets, are most active during late-summer and early-autumn when nest populations can exceed 60,000 insects. These insects occur throughout the United States. Another stinging insect, the fire ant, occurs year-round and infects more than 250 million acres in the southern states.