Allergy to stinging/bites insects
What are the Difference Between Bites and Stings?
Venomous insects attack as a defense mechanism, injecting painful, toxic venom through their stings. Non-venomous insects bite in order to feed on your blood.
When bees sting, they leave the sting and venom sack attached. Venom continues to pump in through the stinger until the sack is empty or the sting is removed. Wasps and hornets however, don’t leave their stings behind and can sting you over and over.
What may happen after an insect sting or bite?
(1) Small local skin reaction
- An insect sting – typically causes an intense, burning pain. A patch of redness and a small area of swelling around the sting quickly follow this.
- An insect bite – you may not notice the bite. However, saliva from the insect can cause a skin reaction such as:
◦ Irritation and itch over the site of the bite.
◦ A small itchy lump that may develop up to 24 hours after a bite.
◦ A wheal, which is, like a small fluid-filled lump and is very itchy. It may develop immediately after being bitten.
(2) Localized allergic skin reaction
A localized reaction causes swelling at the site of the sting. This becomes larger over several hours, and then gradually goes away over a few days. The size of the swelling can vary, but can become many centimeters across.
(3) Generalized allergic reaction
This may cause one or more of the following:
- Itchy skin in many parts of the body, followed by an itchy blotchy rash that can appear anywhere on the body.
- Swelling of your face that may extend to the lips, tongue, throat, and upper airway.
- Abdominal cramps and feeling sick.
- Wheezing or difficulty in breathing due to an asthma attack or throat swelling.
What is the treatment for an insect sting or bite?
- Scrape out the sting left in the skin as quickly as possible.
- The quicker you remove the sting the better, so use anything suitable to scrape out the sting quickly.
- If any symptoms of a generalized allergic reaction develop then call an ambulance immediately.
- If you have been issued with an adrenaline pen, use it as directed straight away.
- If there is a localized allergic reactionthen:
- Take an antihistamine tablet as soon as possible.
- Use a cold compress to ease pain and to help reduce swelling.
- Painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen can help to ease the pain.
- See a doctor if the swelling is severe.
What are my chances of having a serious allergic reaction?
- Most people do not have an allergic reaction to insect stings or bites.
- About 3 in 100 people who are stung have some kind of allergic reaction.
What can I do to preventing insect bites and stings?
- Wear long-sleeved clothing and long trousers in places where insects are common.
- Avoid brightly colored clothes, cosmetics, perfumes or hair sprays, which attract insects.
- Rub an insect repellent on to exposed areas of skin.
What types of venomous are common in marine world?
Venomous fish include shark, stonefish, and stingrays, which have venom glands in spines on their fins or tails, and are dangerous if stepped on.Both these fish can cause severe pain, nausea, vomiting and other symptoms. The immediate treatment would include:
– Bring ashore.
– Hot water immersion to destroy thermo labile toxin.
– Lidocaine block for pain control
What about jellyfish and other fishes?
(1)Jellyfish– sting by means of stinging cells located on their tentacles. These discharge on contact with a person. Several species are lethal.
(A) Box jellyfish– found in warm oceans (Indo Pacific, Atlantic, Caribbean), Thailand, Australia, Philippines, and Japan. The symptoms would include:
– Instant severe pain.
– Cardiac and respiratory arrest
The immediate treatment would be get out of water and call for help.
What are the general Treatment Principles for Jellyfish stings:
(1) Cold pack
(2) Vinegar to prevent more stings.
(3) Compression/ immobilization to decrease spread of venom.
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