Reactions to Insect Stings/Bites

Bee and Wasp Stings

Reactions to bee and wasp stings require investigation to establish whether they are part of an anaphylactic response with potential life-threatening consequences or represent a large local reaction. Allergy skin prick tests and blood tests are useful in distinguishing between these two distinct immunological reactions.

Venom anaphylaxis demands emergency treatment with antihistamines and probably adrenaline via a device that can be self-administered. The risk of anaphylactic reactions can be reduced through desensitisation and Professor Powell will discuss the details.

Large local reactions can resemble areas of cellulitis and hence are often treated with antibiotics when the superior treatment would be a short course of steroids to reduce the inflammation and swelling.

Mosquito Bites

Mosquito bites are another common problem in the allergy clinic and insect repellents based on DEET are recommended to reduce the frequency of bites. Cetirizine 10mg daily taken prophylactically in ‘at risk’ environments can reduce both the itch and local swellings.