An insect sting allergy can be a serious reaction that requires immediate medical attention, but how do you tell the difference between a normal sting and sting allergy? At Advanced Allergy & Asthma Associates in Southlake and Fort Worth, Texas, the team uses skin testing and blood tests to determine whether you’re allergic to certain insect stings. If you think you might have an insect sting allergy, call Advanced Allergy & Asthma Associates or book an appointment online today.
When you’re stung by an insect, it’s normal for the site to feel painful, swollen, and red. In some cases, however, your immune system can overreact to the venom in the sting, triggering an allergic reaction.
If you have an insect sting allergy, your body produces Immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies after the initial sting. When you’re stung by the same type of insect again, the venom reacts with the IgE antibody and triggers an allergic reaction.
Redness, itchiness, and minor swelling are normal reactions to an insect sting, but they can be amplified if you have a localized reaction. More severe insect sting allergic reactions include:
You should seek medical attention right away if you experience any of the above symptoms. The most serious insect sting allergy symptom is anaphylaxis, a potentially life-threatening allergic reaction that can cause your airways to narrow and your blood pressure to drop. This can stop you from breathing properly and cause you to lose consciousness.
After reviewing your medical history, the Advanced Allergy & Asthma Associates team may recommend a skin test to make a proper diagnosis. The most common insect sting allergies that your doctor will test for are bees, yellow jackets, hornets, and wasps.
During a skin test, also called a scratch or prick test, your allergist places a small drop of the allergen in question — venom in this case — onto a scratch/prick device. They then scratch or prick the skin on your back, arm, or forearm with this device to trigger a reaction. The test typically takes about 15 to 20 minutes.
To confirm your diagnosis or perform further testing, your allergist may recommend a blood test.
If your test results come back positive, the Advanced Allergy & Asthma Associates team can make recommendations about your treatment based on your specific symptoms and medical history.
The best way to avoid an allergic reaction is to stay away from the insects you’re allergic to whenever possible. If you have an insect allergy, you should carry an epinephrine auto-injector at all times.
Allergy shots, or venom immunotherapy, can help strengthen your tolerance to insect sting allergies and reduce your chances of a life-threatening reaction in the future.
To schedule an appointment with Advanced Allergy & Asthma Associates, call the office or book a visit online.