Insect sting allergy

For most people, an insect sting means some discomfort with redness and swelling at the sting sight. This is considered a local reaction to the insect sting. However, some individuals receiving an insect sting experience a systemic or whole body reaction that can lead to a life threatening allergic reachtion (anaphylaxis).

  • Experts estimate that 2 million Americans are allergic to insect stings and many of these individuals are at risk of suffering life-threatening reactions to insect venom.
  • Insect stings send more than 500,000 Americans to hospital emergency rooms every year, and cause at least 50 known deaths each year. 

The Board Certified Allergists/Immunologists of Allergy & Asthma Specialists are specially trained to help patients prevent a dangerous reaction from insect stings. 

Insects that most cause Sting Allergies:

  • Yellow jackets
  • White Hornets
  • Yellow Hornets
  • Wasps
  • Honey Bees
  • Fire Ants – in warmer, southern climates

Signs of ANAPHYLAXIS, a life-threatening reaction to Insect Stings

Call 911 if you experience any ONE of these reactions to an insect sting:

  • Itchiness or hives
  • Swelling of throat, tongue or face
  • Difficulty breathing, wheezing, coughing or chest tightness
  • Dizziness or confusion
  • Stomach cramps
  • Nausea, vomiting or diarrhea
  • Loss of consciousness

It is very important to see an Allergist if you have a history of insect sting reaction that resulted in any of the above symptoms. The allergist can provide  life-saving treatment.


Your examination at A&AS for Insect Sting Allergy will include a series of skin tests to determine all types of insects to which you may be allergic. Your allergist will then institute a three-step approach to preventing a life-threatening reaction to insect stings.

Insect Sting Allergy Treatment:

  • Instruction on avoidance of Stinging Insects, your first line of defense against a sting.
  • For emergency treatment, the patient will be prescribed a self-administer epinephrine kit and instructed on its proper use. An individual who has experienced an allergic reaction to an insect sting has a 60% chance of having a similar or more severe reaction if stung again. An epinephrine kit could save your life.
  • We will prescribe Venom Immunotherapy (or venom allergy shots) if an allergy is confirmed by skin tests. Venom Immunotherapy works by introducing gradually increasing doses of purified insect venom. The therapy has been shown to be 97 percent effective in preventing allergic reactions to insect stings.