Wasp Sting Allergy

What is wasp sting allergy?

Wasp stings can cause reactions that can be very severe in people who are allergic to wasp venom. If, as a result of a wasp sting, only slight swelling and redness is observed, this skin manifestation could be a simple reaction to the toxic substances in the venom. On the other hand, if the reaction is stronger, the person could be suffering from an allergy, in which case the result could be potentially very serious or fatal, and in this case it is essential to seek medical assistance as soon as possible.

Prognosis for wasp sting allergy

The prognosis is very good if the allergist is consulted in time, since emergency therapies, as well as immunotherapy, can successfully treat allergies. The people most at risk in the case of stings are the elderly, because they could suffer from cardiovascular disorders beforehand, which would worsen the prognosis.

Wasp stings can cause reactions that can be very severe in people allergic to the venom of these insects.

Symptoms of allergy to wasp stings

Symptoms of allergic reaction to wasp stings are as follows:

  • Local swelling with a diameter of about 10 cm or even more widespread.
  • Hives and itching
  • General pain and malaise
  • Vomiting
  • Shortness of breath and rapid breathing
  • Pain in the abdomen and diarrhea
  • Confusion and lightheadedness
  • Accelerated heartbeat
  • Drop in blood pressure
  • Loss of consciousness and fainting
  • Feeling of severe anxiety
  • The above symptoms occur within minutes after the sting and last for more than 24 hours.
  • Anaphylaxis (cardiocirculatory arrest and collapse) may also be observed.
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Diagnosis of wasp sting allergy

There are specific tests to be performed within 3 weeks of the sting to confirm or not the presence of allergy. These tests have the contraindication that they may in turn provoke an allergic reaction in the case of severe allergy, and therefore have to be performed only in specialized allergy centers. The specialist will also perform an objective visit and a blood test after the sting.

What are the causes of wasp stings?

Wasps are more aggressive than bees and other apoids. There are a number of reasons why we are more likely to be stung by a wasp:

  • They build their nests on the ground or, in any case, in places where it is easy to unintentionally stumble upon them, such as between roof tiles, in walls or on the terraces of houses;
  • Wasps are attracted to sugar, fruit, meat and waste: for this reason they nest more easily near humans;
  • Bees lose their lives when they sting, because the stinger separates from their body along with some internal organs; wasps, on the contrary, can sting several times because the stinger does not separate from the body at the first sting.

Can it be prevented?

Immunotherapy is the most effective treatment to overcome allergic reactions to wasp venom. The objective is to desensitize the subject to avoid harmful reactions if he/she is stung again in the future. Immunotherapy allows rebalancing the immune response in allergic individuals, and the success rate is about 90%.

Treatments for wasp sting allergy

In addition to the immunotherapy described above, there are other possible therapies:

  • Antihistamines
  • Cortisone
  • Self-injectable adrenaline: in this case, the substance must always be carried with you and you have about 10 seconds to inject it. The injection of adrenaline prevents anaphylactic shock and other serious reactions.
  • Drugs for wasp stings
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Which specialist should be contacted?

If an allergy to wasp venom is suspected, an allergist should be consulted to initiate the correct therapy. It is recommended that family members of the allergic person also see a specialist.