Venom allergy (Bee and Wasp)

Bee sting venom is an irritant, causing swelling and pain around the affected area in not just those with a venom allergy but anyone who is stung by a bee or wasp. However, the body can overreact to a sting, producing antibodies that have an adverse reaction to the immune system and the whole body. Recognising an allergic response can be life-saving in instances of severe allergic reactions. 

If you have reacted to a bee or wasp sting before, it is highly likely that you will react adversely if you are stung again. We have provided some advice on how to test for allergies if you are concerned you or a loved one may be at risk.

Symptoms of venom allergies

Bee and wasp stings will affect anyone who is stung as they are irritants. However, if you are allergic to bee or wasp sting venom the reaction will be more pronounced and severe. A mild reaction is normally identified by pain at the sting site, a welt or mark where the sting entered the body, and a small area of swelling that disappears in a couple of days. A moderate reaction may include more serious swelling and a rash that spreads to other parts of the body other than the affected area. If the swelling is pronounced for longer than a day or two it is likely that you have suffered from a moderate allergic reaction. A severe allergic reaction can result in anaphylactic shock. If you are a parent, you will be pleased to know that children are of a lesser risk of anaphylaxis than adults are, but if your child has a moderate reaction to a bee or wasp sting it is always advised to see a doctor to make sure that it is not serious. Anaphylaxis is life threatening as it can block the airways and so it is essential that if you suspect someone may be suffering with it you seek medical help immediately.

Treatments for venom allergies

For minor reactions, it is best to try and remove the sting as soon as possible. Only bee stings leave a stinger in the skin – wasp stings do not. Applying a cold compress can then help reduce swelling. For moderate or more serious reactions, contact your doctor for advice. You may benefit from having adrenaline pen and be referred for immunotherapy which is often a lifesaving treatment. If you would like more information about private treatment, visit Why Use A Private Allergy Clinic?

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