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Bees, wasps and hornets are among some of the most common flying insects encountered each spring, summer and fall.  We all have seen the terror these creatures inflict on kids at play outside, but also on adults at work and play.  So, should we be that concerned?

Allergic Reactions to Stings

For the average person, a bee sting causes no more than temporary pain and irritation at the sting site, but for some 5 to 7.5 percent of people, according to the Journal of Asthma and Allergy, will experience a severe allergic reaction to insect stings. These reactions can range from mild to moderate in most cases, resulting in severe pain, swelling, redness and possibly numbness of the affected extremity. This sting can also cause a more severe, even life-threatening condition for others, such as anaphylaxis.

Anaphylaxis is a severe allergic reaction the body has to foreign substances being introduced to it.  Bee stings can cause this, but wasps and yellow jackets often facilitate a more severe allergic reaction.  During anaphylaxis, our bodies produce copious amounts of histamine, a signaling chemical, that can trigger inflammation in the tissues.  This inflammatory response can cause dilation of the blood vessels, drop in blood pressure, unconsciousness and shock.

In a person with anaphylaxis, airways can narrow, so breathing is difficult.  Additionally, blood vessels can leak, causing swelling that results from the accumulation of fluid, called edema.  This reaction can happen immediately upon contact with the allergen.  In this case, the allergen is venom from the stinging insect.  If the reaction does not occur immediately, it can occur several hours later or in rare cases, days later.

Symptoms of Anaphylaxis

Symptoms of anaphylaxis, according to Medical News Today, include, but are not limited to:  nasal congestion, an itchy mouth or throat, a full heavy feeling in the tongue, difficulty swallowing or a feeling like something is caught in one’s throat, a cough, shortness of breath or gasping of breath, chest pain, stomach pain and cramps, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, swelling and itchiness of the skin, which may be red and feverish, hives or other rashes, anxiety, feeling of impending doom, swelling in lips, eyes and extremities, low blood pressure, poor circulation, pale or blue shin, low pulse rate, dizziness, faintness, shock and loss of consciousness.  This is a profoundly serious condition which can lead to death from anaphylactic shock.

From 2000-2017 there was a total of 1,109 deaths reported from bee, hornet and wasp stings in the U.S.  This reflects an average annual mortality rate of 62 deaths a year for the 17-year time frame according to the National Vital Statistics System.

You may not know you or your family member or a friend who is visiting is allergic to stings until it happens. Don’t wait until it is too late. Contact All Natural Pest Elimination to take care of your bee, wasp, or hornet problem.