Of all the various types of allergies, insect stings and bites are among the most dangerous. Each year, many Atlanta residents are admitted to emergency rooms after experiencing severe allergic reactions to insects. While there is no cure for an insect allergy, understanding the causes, symptoms and treatments can help prevent allergic reactions.
What Are Insect Allergies?
An insect allergy is an overreaction of the immune system as a response to venom, fluid or waste from an insect. The immune system reacts to a potential threat by releasing immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies that trigger the release of histamines and other chemicals that cause an allergic reaction.
What Are the Causes of Insect Allergies?
Due to an increase in stinging insects at this time of year, insects are commonly regarded as a cause of spring allergies. There are a few classes of insects that cause allergies.
Venom from a sting could lead to a mild response, or a life-threatening allergic reaction. Some examples of stinging insects include the following.
- Fire ants
Bites are a common cause of mild allergic reactions. In most cases, an individual will experience minor aggravation, but it is possible to have a severe reaction. Biting insects include the following.
Insects found in the home can cause allergic reactions after interactions with their body or waste. The most common examples are as follows.
- Dust mites
- Small flies
What Are the Symptoms of Insect Allergies?
The most common reaction to an insect bite or sting is found on the skin. However, a more intense allergic reaction will also lead to other symptoms.
- Skin issues – Hives, rashes, swelling and persistent itching.
- Stomach pains – Cramps, bloating, diarrhea and vomiting.
- Breathing issues – Shortness of breath and wheezing.
- Anaphylaxis – Severe allergic reaction causing dizziness, a rapid heart rate and nausea. Anaphylaxis requires emergency medical assistance.
Household insects don’t typically lead to severe allergic reactions, but can cause a runny nose, coughing and breathing difficulties. Insect waste can also increase the chances of asthma attacks.
What Are the Best Treatments for Insect Allergies?
Before determining a treatment, your allergist will want to diagnose the cause of your allergy. A skin prick test, patch allergy testing or a blood test will be used to identify the exact trigger. Subsequently, a treatment plan can be recommended.
Some simple steps include avoiding places where insects are likely to be found, covering up with clothing, as well as cleaning your home regularly. Your allergist may also recommend medication such as antihistamines, corticosteroids and an EpiPen®. In addition, the use of allergy shots is a long-term approach that will desensitize your immune system to the presence of allergens in the body.
Effective Treatment for Insect Allergies
Are you experiencing allergic reactions to insect bites or stings? Dr. Chacko helps diagnose and treat insect allergies from our locations in Alpharetta, Atlanta, Canton, Cumming, Duluth and Johns Creek. Call (678) 668-4688 or request an appointment online.