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Insect stings and allergy
Insect stings and allergy


Definition:

Bee poisoning is caused by a sting from a bee, wasp , or yellow jacket.

This is for information only and not for use in the treatment or management of an actual poison exposure. If you have an exposure, you should call your local emergency number (such as 911) or the National Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222.

See also: Bee sting



Alternative Names:

Apitoxin poisoning; Apis venenum purum poisoning; Apis virus poisoning



Poisonous Ingredient:

Bee, wasp, and yellow jacket stings give off a substance called venom.



Where Found:
  • Bees
  • Wasps
  • Yellow jackets


Symptoms:

* These symptoms are due to an allergic reaction and not venom.



Home Treatment:

If you have an allergy to bee, wasp, or yellow jacket stings, it is important to always carry a bee sting kit (which requires a prescription) and become familiar with its use. The kit contains medicine called epinephrine, which you should take immediately if you get a bee sting.

Call Poison Control or a hospital emergency room if the person who is stung has an allergy to the insect or was stung inside the mouth or throat. People with severe reactions may need to go to the hospital.

To treat the bee sting:

  • Remove the stinger from the skin (if it is still present).
  • Carefully scrape the back of a knife or other thin straight-edged object across the stinger if the person is able to remain still, and it is safe to do so. Otherwise, you can pull out the stinger with tweezers or your fingers, but avoid pinching the venom sac at the end of the stinger. If this sac is broken, more venom will be released.
  • Clean the area thoroughly with soap and water.
  • Place ice (wrapped in a washcloth or other covering) on the site of the sting for 10 minutes and then off for 10 minutes. Repeat this process. If the person has circulatory problems, decrease the time that the ice is on the area to prevent possible skin damage.
  • Give the person diphenhydramine (Benadryl) by mouth. This antihistamine drug may be used alone for a mild symptoms.


Before Calling Emergency:

Determine the following information:

  • Patient's age, weight, and condition
  • Type of insect, if possible
  • Time stung


Poison Control, or a local emergency number:

The National Poison Control Center (1-800-222-1222) can be called from anywhere in the United States. This national hotline number will let you talk to experts in poisoning. They will give you further instructions.

This is a free and confidential service. All local poison control centers in the United States use this national number. You should call if you have any questions about poisoning or poison prevention. It does NOT need to be an emergency. You can call for any reason, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

See: Poison control center - emergency number



What to expect at the emergency room:

The health care provider will measure and monitor your vital signs, including temperature, pulse, breathing rate, and blood pressure. Symptoms will be treated as appropriate. You may receive:

  • Medicines to treat any allergic reaction
  • Breathing help, if needed


Expectations (prognosis):

How well you do depends on how allergic you are to the insect sting and how quickly you receive treatment. The faster you get medical help, the better the chance for recovery.

Patients who are not allergic to bees or wasps usually get better within 1 week.




Review Date: 2/17/2009
Reviewed By: A.D.A.M. Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, Greg Juhn, MTPW, David R. Eltz. Previously reviewed by Eric Perez, MD, Department of Emergency Medicine, St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center, New York, NY. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network (3/13/2008).

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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789 Central Avenue, Dover, NH 03820
Phone: (603) 742-5252
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