In this article you will find:
  • Symptoms
  • Identification of stinging insects
  • To prevent bites
  • Treatment
  • Measures to treat insect bites
The sting of insects cause allergy in many children and adults each year. Usually, a sting causes discomfort, pain, redness, swelling and itching. However, an allergic you may react exaggeratedly to the product injected by an insect. The immune system of the person can generate a substance allergic called antibody immunoglobulin E (IgE), causing the allergic reaction is severe. It can also happen that the suffering another bite of the same insect, or of a similar species, the venom interacts with the antibody of IgE produced in response to the first bite, which would trigger the release of histamine and other chemicals that cause the allergy.


Very few cases are life or death, but there are some. Many organs can be affected in a quick way, which is called anaphylaxis. Among the symptoms are: hives over large areas of the body, swelling of the throat or tongue, difficulty breathing, dizziness, cramps of stomach, nausea or diarrhea. You can even lower your blood pressure and cause shock and fainting. In these cases, you should seek a doctor urgently, since it can be fatal.

Identification of stinging insects

If you want to avoid a sting, you have to learn to recognize the insects and where they live. In general, there are 5 types of insects that bite frequently: yellow jacket, honey bees, wasps, hornets and fire ants.
The yellow jackets have trademark black and yellow and are located in different climates. The material of their nests is similar to the paper mache, and located commonly under ground, although also can be in the walls, cracks, or stacks of wood.
The honey bees are more round and furry, with colors dark brown and yellow markings. This bee is the one that leaves its stinger with barbs into the victim, dying in the chop. You must take into account that these bees are not aggressive and only sting when they are disturbed, (although in South america there are “killer bees”, which are more aggressive and can sting in groups). Honey bees domesticated they live in hives man-made, while others live in hives in hollow trees or cavities of buildings, usually protected places.
Wasps are more slender and elongate, color black, brown or red with yellow markings. Their nests are similar to that of the bees, forming a honeycomb with circular cells that opens downward. They are usually under eaves, behind shutters or in shrubs or wood piles.
Hornets are black or brown with white markings, orange or yellow and of larger size than the yellow jacket. Their nests are gray or brown, with the shape of a football and american hollow, of similar material to that of the nests of the yellow jacket. Commonly found in height on branches or tree hollows.
The red ants are reddish brown in color. Live in mounds protruding, common in the warmer climates, who come to measure up to 90 centimeters in diameter and 45.7 cm in height, containing up to 250,000 ants. Attacked without warning, biting the victim and inserting their sting in the skin, turning so itchy about 8 times in a circular shape. The venom is very toxic, so that burns a lot.

To prevent bites

There is to leave the territory of the nests, as these insects will sting when they feel threatened their home. In case you find a beehive in the house, you should call an exterminator trained. If the insects are flying close to one, you should keep quiet and move slowly. Keep in mind that the insects search for nectar, so it is best to avoid perfumes and sweet-coloured clothing when you are near them. The same caution should be taken when cooking and eating outdoors. There are that protect your feet with closed shoes and avoid loose clothing that can catch insects.


The sting of a bee of honey that has left its sting should be treated by removing it from the skin as soon as possible (scrape rapidly with your fingernail to get it out). You should not squeeze the sac, as it would introduce more venom through the stinger. Insects that only bite, they should be troubled with care to avoid further stings. Usually, the discomfort will pass after an hour. In the case of the red ants, a small blister where it was each sting within 4 hours, and then a wound with pus the following hours. The wound then breaks and heals within a couple of days.
It is important to monitor the bites to verify that there is a secondary bacterial infection. Up to 50% of the cases the discomfort is great, accompanied by itching, redness, and pain.

Measures to treat insect bites

  • Lift the affected area and apply ice or a cold compress to reduce the inflammation and the pain
  • Gently clean the blisters with soap and water to prevent secondary infections; do not break
  • Use topical ointments with steroids or oral antihistamines to relieve itching
  • Go to the doctor if the swelling increases or seems to be infected
  • If you have already suffered from severe allergies to insects, always carry a device of auto-injectable epinephrine (adrenaline), to avoid serious allergic reactions. Then you should go to the doctor.
  • If you suffer from severe allergies you can use a bracelet or indicator that alerts the possible reaction and what to do to help you in the best way.
The doctor will collect a complete medical history of the patient and perform a test to determine what allergies exist. Use skin testing or blood (RAST) for allergies to insect, to detect the presence of significant amounts of IgE antibody.
Among the treatments is the immunotherapy of the poison of the insect, by means of injections, which prevents the allergic reactions to future bites in 97% of cases. What it does is to administer doses gradually stronger extract of poison in intervals of several weeks to over a period of 3 to 5 years. In this way it strengthens the immune system.
If you have any doubts, consultation with an allergy specialist to see alternative treatments. This way, you'll be able to move freely by the external environments.

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