to Avoid and Treat Insect Sting Reactions
enthusiasts and others outdoors need to be prepared for unexpected
encounters with stinging insects. Knowing where nests are usually
found and how to immediately treat a sting could save a life.
the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network, outdoor sports activities
can turn deadly for those who are allergic to stinging insects,
if stung. More than 13 million Americans are allergic to insect-stings
and need to take extra safety precautions when engaging in outdoor
activities such as golfing, hiking, baseball, tennis, and soccer.
reactions can range from mild to life-threatening. Symptoms of
an allergic reaction usually occur within minutes of the insect
sting. Local reactions typically are found at the site of the
sting and cause painful swelling and itching. Some can involve
swelling of an area larger than the sting site. For example,
the entire arm can become swollen from a sting on the hand. Swelling
may last as long as 10 days, although it usually peaks within
2 days. This type of reaction may also include nausea and low-grade
reactions, or anaphylaxis, usually occur within seconds to a
few minutes after a sting, but may begin as late as 20 minutes
after the sting. Difficulty breathing, throat tightness, and
wheezing can occur as a result of an insect sting and are symptoms
of a life-threatening reaction. Insect stings cause approximately
40 deaths each year in the United States.
bumblebees, yellow jackets, hornets, wasps, fire ants, and harvester
ants are the most common causes of insect stings in the United
some extra precautions and preparation, sports enthusiasts can
avoid unwanted encounters with bees and other stinging insects,” said
Anne Muñoz-Furlong, founder & CEO, The Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis
Network. “For those with insect sting allergies, it is
imperative to be prepared and have a game plan if stung because
reactions can be quite serious.”
in outdoor activities follow these strategies to minimize an
encounter with stinging insects:
- Be careful
near large bushes, especially flowering ones.
- Stay away
from garbage that is not covered.
- Pour soda
into cups so you can see what’s in it at all times.
- Keep sweetened
- Keep sport
- Avoid wearing
brightly-colored clothing and flowery prints.
- Avoid scented
cosmetics, perfumes, cologne, aftershave, lotions, and scented
- Keep hands
and face clean of sweet liquid: soda pop, juice, ice cream,
butter, meat juices.
- Be prepared
to treat insect stings
It is not uncommon
for stings to cause immediate pain. Some people say it feels
like a hot wire was placed on their skin at the sting site. Others
have pain followed by swelling and itching. Here are some strategies
to relieve mild symptoms:
- Place a
cold compress on the sting site - use a cold can of soda or
a jar from the refrigerator.
acetaminophen for pain relief.
- If available,
antihistamines may be used to relieve itching.
- Adolph’s® meat
tenderizer in a paste form, or a paste made of baking soda
and water may help to reduce reactions.
If the symptoms
worsen, and there is a history of severe allergic reactions,
seek medical attention immediately. Remember to always carry
an EpiPen ®, the medicine of choice for treating anaphylactic
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