BMN Blog

JUL 15

It is that time of year again - pool parties, camping, hiking, yard work, and picnics. Along with increased time outdoors comes the risk of an insect sting. While insect stings occur regularly, only about two to three percent of patients will experience an anaphylactic reaction. These anaphylactic reactions occur more commonly in adults than in children. A majority of these patients do not seek medical care. 


Venom-induced anaphylaxis is one of the leading causes of fatal anaphylaxis with up to 100 deaths per year. This number may be falsely low as insect sting reactions may cause cardiovascular compromise that are labeled as deaths from cardiac causes. Over half of patients with fatal anaphylaxis were not aware they were allergic to stinging insects.


Having a past anaphylactic reaction to an insect sting carries a 60 percent risk of subsequent anaphylaxis. In addition to avoidance measures and carrying injectable epinephrine, high-risk patients can benefit from venom immunotherapy. Venom immunotherapy provides a safe opportunity to desensitize the patient to their particular stinging insect allergy. Not only does this significantly reduce the risk of future anaphylaxis, but it gives patients the confidence to enjoy the outdoors again.


Sunena Argo, MD practices with Alabama Allergy & Asthma Center. She is board certified in Pediatrics, as well as Allergy and Immunology.

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