Most everyone will react in some way to stinging insects, but up to 13.5 million people in the U.S. may be at risk of anaphylaxis, a life threatening allergic reaction.
There are three types of allergic reactions to insect stings:
swelling and redness confined to the general area of the sting. Generally these are not dangerous.
Large Local Reaction
Symptoms include swelling, redness and itching that may or may not be confined to the general area of the sting. Generally these reactions are not dangerous, but very large areas of swelling may warrant further evaluation. Contact your allergist if you have questions about a large local reaction.
An allergic reaction that results in symptoms other than localized swelling. Symptoms may include itching, hives or swelling away from the sting site. This type of reaction may progress to anaphylaxis. Anyone who has experienced an allergic reaction in the past has a significantly increased chance of a similar or worse reaction if stung again. If you have experienced an allergic reaction of any kind, consult an allergist as soon as possible to perform an evaluation to determine the most appropriate treatment plan.
Venom Immunotherapy (allergy shots) to bees or fire ants, if warranted, is a potential treatment option. Venom Immunotherapy can dramatically reduce the likelihood of anaphylaxis from future stings and may result in a permanent cure.