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by 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:
Risk Factors TOP
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:
Anaphylaxis 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. If this is the case, call for emergency medical services right away.
Treatment may include:
To help reduce your chances of 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 & Immunology
Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians
About Kids Health—The Hospital for Sick Children
Hymenoptera sting allergy. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.... Updated April 6, 2017. Accessed October 2, 2017.
Insect sting allergy. American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Accessed September 23, 2015.
Rank MA, Li JT. Allergen immunotherapy. Mayo Clin Proc. 2007;82(9):1119-1123.
Last reviewed September 2017 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Marcin Chwistek, MD
Last Updated: 9/30/2013
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