Insect sting allergy
It is quite normal to have pain, local redness and swelling at the site of an insect sting. Some people have large local reactions if the swelling is over 10cm wide, and a few have generalised reactions affecting the whole body, and, rarely anaphylaxis.
Local reactions, even if large should not be viewed as an allergy, but rather inflammation caused by the venom in the sting. Where local reactions are very large or do not settle medical attention should be sought. Allergic symptoms occur when the venom from the sting triggers the release of chemicals such as histamine, not just at the sting site but more generally. The risk of allergic reactions is highest if a second sting occurs two to eight weeks after the first.
Symptoms can include one or more of the following:
- swelling and hives
- wheezing, coughing and difficulty breathing
- sudden feeling of weakness – dizziness, low blood pressure