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What is an insect sting allergy?

Typical symptoms of an insect sting include redness, swelling, and itching. However, someone with an allergic reaction to a sting may develop a large area of swelling on the skin, hives, swelling of the tongue or throat, difficulty breathing, dizziness, stomach cramps, nausea or diarrhea. In severe cases, a person may develop anaphylaxis, which is a rapid drop in blood pressure causing shock and loss of consciousness. Anaphylaxis is a medical emergency and requires immediate medical attention (call 911). If you are severely allergic to insect stings, you may need to carry an epinephrine pen with you at all times. Epinephrine is used as a rescue medication in case you get stung.
Sometimes, people do not develop anaphylaxis the first time they are stung and it is the second or third time that causes the reaction. Stinging insects include yellow jacket, honeybees and bumble bees, wasps, hornets, and fire ants.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.