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Insect Allergy

Definition

Allergies are abnormal or adverse reactions to a substance. Insect allergies are a reaction to insect stings or bites. It can also occur with exposure to such insects in an environment.
Insect Bites
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Causes

Stinging insects include:
Biting insects include:
Insects that cause respiratory allergies include:

Risk Factors

Other factors that may increase your chance of insect allergies include:

Symptoms

An allergy to biting and stinging insects can affect the area around the bite or sting and cause:
Anaphylaxis can be a life-threatening reaction that causes:
Some insects cause respiratory allergies that result in:

Diagnosis

The doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. Most diagnoses are based on a history of a reaction after a sting. For those with a severe insect allergy, stings may be life-threatening. Therefore, it is important to see an allergist or immunologist (doctor who specializes in allergies).
Tests include:

Treatment

Some reactions cause trouble breathing. In this case, call for emergency medical services.
Treatment may include:

Prevention

To reduce your chance of having an allergic reaction to either biting or stinging insects:
To reduce your chance of having an allergic reaction to insects that provoke respiratory responses:

RESOURCES

American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology http://www.aaaai.org

Joint Council of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology http://www.jcaai.org

CANADIAN RESOURCES

About Kids Health http://www.aboutkidshealth.ca

Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca

References

Adkinson NF. Middleton’s Allergy: Principles and Practice. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Mosby-Year Book; 2009.

Hymenoptera sting allergy. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated January 6, 2014. Accessed August 12, 2014.

Insect sting allergy. American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology website. Available at: http://www.acaai.org/allergist/allergies/Types/insect-sting-allergies/Pages/default.aspx. Accessed August 12, 2014.

Middleton's Allergy: Principles and Practice. 5th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Mosby-Year Book; 1998.

Rank MA, Li JT. Allergen immunotherapy. Mayo Clin Proc. 2007;82:1119-1123.

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