While the majority of people only experience a normal reaction to insect stings with symptoms that may include itching, swelling, redness and minor pain around the area of the sting, there is a small percentage of the population who experience a severe allergic reaction which can be very dangerous and even life threatening. The most common stinging insects that can cause an allergic reaction are fire ants and bees which include wasps, honeybees, yellow jackets, and hornets. In this guide you will learn the difference between a normal reaction to an insect sting and an allergic reaction which requires immediate medical attention.

When an individual is stung by an insect the normal reaction that typically occurs is some minor pain accompanied by redness and swelling of the area which in some cases can also include a larger area of swelling or “local reaction” such as when an individual is stung in the ankle swelling of the entire leg may occur.

Normal insect stings should be thoroughly cleansed and disinfected. Ice may also be applied to help with the pain and swelling if necessary. However, in individuals who have an allergic reaction to an insect sting it is essential that emergency medical treatment be received.

The symptoms that occur when an individual is experiencing a severe allergic reaction to an sting can include, difficulty breathing, a rapid heartbeat, swelling in the facial area such as the mouth and eyes, difficulty in swallowing which indicates a swelling of the throat, a sudden drop in blood pressure, and hives which have spread to other areas of the body away from the sting.

It is important to note that not all of these symptoms may be present and that any one of them should be treated as a medical emergency. If you are with someone who is experiencing this type of reaction, the first thing you should do is immediately seek medical attention by calling 911.

Some individuals who know that they are susceptible to these allergic reactions carry an emergency kit with items such as epinephrine which can be injected to stop the reaction from becoming more serious and you should check to see if they have any type of emergency medication available which may help them.

There is a reason why the saying “sting like a bee” is so popular; stinging is one of the best means of hurting people, and the insects know that. Stings transmit a large amount of pain and if you get stung by stinging insects with poison it makes the experience all the more unbearable. As a preventive measure you may want to stay away from trees a couple of times but who stays away from trees right? At least keep the environment free from substances that attract these stinging insects.