Insect stings

Reactions produced by the sting of insects such as bees and wasps. Venom injected by the insect contains inflammatory substances that cause local pain, redness, and swelling for about 48 hours. Any sting in the mouth or throat is dangerous because the swelling may obstruct breathing. About 1 person in 200 is allergic to insect venom, and a severe allergic reaction can occur, leading to anaphylactic shock. A procedure known as hyposensitization is sometimes recommended for such people. If the symptoms of anaphylactic shock develop, it is essential to seek emergency medical treatment. Any person who is known to be hypersensitive to bee or wasp venom should obtain and carry an emergency kit for the self-injection of adrenaline (epinephrine).


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