What to Do About Allergic Reaction to Wasp Sting; Anaphylactic Shock
Yellow Jacket Wasp (Vespula Germanica)
This article provides suggestions and guides for coping with allergic reaction to wasp sting and anaphylactic shock:
- How to discover if you are allergic to wasp stings (anaphylactic)
- Tips how to protect against a wasp sting
- Suggestions how to cope with living with wasps, if you are allergic
- What Immunologists do to de-sensitize people who have allergy to wasps or bees.
Allergy to wasp sting is a life threatening condition and it is 'prohibitative' in that from when you are diagnosed 'allergic' and can have anaphylactic shock, you need to take every precaution against the possibility of a sting.
First though, a little about how I discovered I had become allergic to a wasp sting. (Until the sting I'll be telling you about in this article, I had no idea I had an allergy. This is typical of most allergy cases.)
There were bothersome wasps around on that pleasant day in September when I was sitting outside my swimming club pool enjoying a sandwich with my son.
Although I was being careful not to bother them, I hadn't noticed a wasp that had hidden underneath my last morsel - as I put it in my mouth.
The angry wasp naturally stung my lip, (I think in two places) and it hurt as stings do. My son was quick to say I needed an adrenaline injection and bounded off to the reception desk to ask for one whilst I asked if he would pass my robe to me. I remember wishing he would pass me my robe because I was so cold. I quickly felt unbearably colder. I couldn't move as I stared, incapable of movement, at my robe. I exited from this world, as I knew it.
I had gone into an anaphylactic shock - and although helicopters made emergency landings and ambulances arrived and my son had found an adrenaline injection (incredibly the person next to us by the pool had one in her bag) and had kept me alive by breathing into my mouth and keeping my tongue from going down my throat, I was aware of none of this. I came-to in the hospital several hours later.
Yellow Jacket Wasp
Epi Pens and Children
- Epi-Pen Bag for Children - peacecreekontheprairie.com
More and more children are having to carry around Epe-Pens, but how do you make sure your children are safely carrying their pens with them? An Epi-Pen Bag
Am I Allergic to Wasp Stings?
If you live in the countryside with flowers and fruits around you, near vineyards, or orchards, if you are a farmer or a horticulturist or gardener, or if you keep bees, then it would be wise to visit an allergy doctor to have tests to discover if you have an allergy to insects, wasps or bees and to discover your tolerance levels.
I am not a doctor and not qualified to discuss the tests here, but your allergy doctor will educate you on the ImmunoCap Rast blood test and more specific IgE component tests for wasp poisoning (ImmunoCAP i208) - and you could be advised to have the tests, or Skin Prick Tests.
Death due to anaphylaxis (from wasp or bee stings) occurs to a several people annually and on average the victim is in their 50's. I've lived around wasps all my life and have been stung by them a few times, but until recently I did not have an allergy to them - I'm in my 60's. In other words, the condition of becoming allergic to wasp stings (and other stinging insects) can develop through life - and the reactions range from mild to life threatening. Some people with mild reactions (children and adults) lose their allergy over time.
There is no way of knowing if you are allergic to wasp stings unless you have tests done.
Did you know?
In the USA - 50 deaths a year are attributed to allergic reactions to insect stings.
People who have experienced an allergic reaction to a sting have 60% chance of experiencing the same or worse reaction, if they are stung again.
How to Treat a Sting on Your Hand
If you're stung on your hand, take your rings off.
Within 30 seconds gently scrape the venom sack off your skin, or pull it out. Don't squeeze. Then wash with soap and water and apply an antiseptic
Tips How to Protect Against Wasp Stings
A. People who know they have an allergic reaction to wasps and bees should try to avoid being stung as much as possible - so stay away from areas that wasps and bees frequent.
B. Venom Desinsitization Immunotherapy (VIT) is a successful means of treating people with venom allergic reactions. It is also referred to as 'desensitisation'.
C. If you wear spectacles, then you need to swap to contact lenses so that you will always be able to see. (I wasn't wearing my glasses yesterday, for example and I picked up my mobile phone, which had a wasp on it, which could have been lethal.)
Here is a list of precautionary actions to take to help to protect against wasps, in addition to taking the allergy test.
1. don't Encourage wqsps near your home..
- Keep lids on trash. Don't keep trash cans near the house or garage.
- Don't have water around pots or basins or water features near your home.
- Use pest control agents like sprays or coils.
- Keep fruit-growing pergolas and sweet perfumed flowers and jams away from your windows.
- If you live among vineyards or on a farm or near orchards then get your home disinfected every summer to prevent wasps building nests in the walls of your home or in your garden or rafters or among the tiles of your roof.
- Get someone to do your yard work, gardening, hedge trimming and lawn mowing.
- Cover soda drinks (wasps love to get inside soda cans so best avoid them altogether).
2. Stay away from clover fields and picnic areas.
- Don't ever go barefoot.
- If you leave clothing on the ground, carefully shake it, or get someone else to shake it.
3. Don't encourage wasps on your person (body).
- Avoid wearing pastel colors, or flowery prints on a dark background. Wearing white is safest for insect allergic people.
- Wear closed shoes outside.
- Don't wear perfume.
- Use an insect repellent.
- Cover your limbs when outside.
- Don't eat sweets or ice cream outdoors (or sodas).
Allergy to Wasp Sting Poll
How Many People Do You Know Have An Allergy to Wasp Sting?
How to Live With Wasps
Since my life-and-close-shave-with-death reaction to the last wasp sting I'm having to consider how to live a life that was once comfortable. I live in a farmhouse in Southern Italy with vineyards all around, indeed a pergola under my bedroom window. During the summer we have thousands of wasps everywhere, in fact all of us have been stung by a wasp, or a bee, a few times this year! Until now, it hasn't been much of a problem.
What adjustments will I need to make, to make my life choices possible now - since the first piece of advice is to remove oneself from where wasps live?
During the height of the summer (wasp) season I've always worn sandals (mostly barefoot) and swim wear through the 40° heat. We've enjoyed eating out in the evening under the pergola because it is too hot indoors. I have a fig tree and we have grapes. My companion and I run a small Bed and Breakfast business in Tuscany and dashing out to hang up the sheets and keeping the garden looking great is what my job is. Indeed, everything about my life here puts me in contact with lots of wasps all the time. Will I need to change this way of life? So soon after the sting, the answer is 'yes'.
I can only know after advice and reflection what action really needs to be taken. To be sensible, I'll talk to my local doctor, and the allergy doctor and my closest friends. Meanwhile there are some actions that I can take!
Practical steps to take about living with an allergic reaction to wasp sting.
- Make an appointment with the allergy doctor for all tests and to learn how to deal with an allergic reaction to wasp sting.
- Learn how to deal with the threat of anaphylactic shock by keeping a pre-loaded syringe of prescription drug close to hand at all times.
- Teach family members how to tilt my head back if the tongue goes into the throat, instead of trying to hold the mouth open. (You tilt the head back with your finger under the chin and the tongue falls back into place).
- Companion/family members must learn CPR in case breathing stops.
- Wear a Medic Alert bracelet with the details of allergy.
- Get those contact lenses!
Please leave comments about your experiences with allergy to wasp sting and please, take the poll.
How To Make A Wasp Trap
Immunologist or Allergy Doctors Treat Allergy to Wasp or Bee Sting
Once you have had an allergy test at your local hospital to ascertain which insect you are allergic to and how allergic you are to it, or to multiple types of insect,you will be in the care of the medical profession from then on.
Each person has a different reaction to different insects, so each person is therefore treated (de-sensitized) differently and accordingly. The Immunologists, or Allergy doctors know all about it.
Usually, people who have allergies have weekly, de sensitizing vaccinations which are performed in a hospital under careful supevision. After six months they will have a vaccination every two weeks and so, in a reductive fashion for five years until an annual boost is sufficient. The allergy should then be controlled.
I've had my tests and I've started my vaccinations and I carry an epipen with me at all times (which is an adrenilin injection) that I would have to inject myself, into my thigh the next time i got stung.
I carry cortisone tablets and antihistamines too. Your Immunologist at the hospital will educate you and prescribe and explain exactly how to be prepared, with which medicines and what precautions.
Allergy to wasp sting or bee sting is a life threatening condition and it is 'prohibitive' in that, from when you are diagnosed 'allergic' and can have anaphylactic shock, you need to take every precaution against the possibility of a sting. A sting can kill you if you don't have your adrenalin shot ready at all times.