by Amy Scholten, MPH
An insect allergy is an abnormal reaction to insects. It may be a reaction to:
Reactions can range from mild to life-threatening.
The cause of allergies is unknown. The symptoms are caused by an overreaction of the immune system. Venom from a sting or fluid from a bite may start the reaction.
Common stinging insects linked with allergies are:
Common biting insects linked with allergies are:
Some insects leave debris in the house that cause reactions. They include:
These insects can cause reactions all year long. They can also set off asthma.
Things that raise the risk of insect allergies may be:
Symptoms depend on the type of allergy.
A bite or sting can cause:
Rarely, stings or bites can cause severe or deadly reactions. The reaction is called anaphylaxis. It can cause:
Insects that live in the house can cause:
The doctor will ask about your symptoms and health history. A physical exam may be done. The doctor may suspect an allergy based on the reaction. An allergy doctor can help.
Tests may include:
Treatment depends on how bad the reaction is. Some reactions cause trouble breathing. They need medical care right away.
General treatment may include:
Insect allergies cannot be prevented. However, the risk of a reaction can be reduced by:
American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology
Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians
About Kids Health—The Hospital for Sick Children
Allergic rhinitis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/allergic-rhinitis. Accessed January 29, 2021.
Anagnostou K. Anaphylaxis in children: epidemiology, risk factors and management. Curr Pediatr Rev. 2018;14(3):180-186.
Hymenoptera sting allergy. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/hymenoptera-sting-allergy-14. Accessed January 29, 2021.
Insect sting allergy. American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology website. Available at:
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Accessed January 29, 2021.
Venom immunotherapy. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/management/venom-immunotherapy. Accessed January 29, 2021.
Last reviewed January 2021 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Mary Beth Seymour, RN
Last Updated: 2/24/2021
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