Get exclusive member benefits & effect social change. Join Today
If you have an allergic reaction to an insect sting, there are a few options for treatment. Your options depend upon whether your allergic reaction is mild or severe. Severe allergic reactions are a medical emergency, and require immediate treatment and medical care.
Antihistamines are the first-line treatments for insect stings. They can help reduce swelling, itching, and hives. First-generation antihistamines are the easiest to find, but for some people they cause drowsiness. First-generation antihistamines include:
The side effects, especially the drowsiness, of first-generation antihistamines are not normally desirable for the treatment of allergy symptoms. More recently, antihistamines, which have fewer or no such side effects and are non-sedating are available over the counter and recommended by many doctors. Over-the-counter antihistamines include:
Epinephrine is a hormone that increases heart rate, contracts blood vessels, and opens air passages. It’s more commonly known as adrenaline. According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, epinephrine is the primary treatment for an emergency allergic reaction like anaphylaxis. Anyone with a known insect sting allergy should carry an autoinjection epinephrine kit whenever going anywhere in nature. An epinephrine autoinjector is a combined needle and syringe that makes it easy to deliver a single dose of the medication. Three common brands of auto-injection epinephrine are Anapen, EpiPen, and Twinject.
It’s important to remember that epinephrine is a rescue medication only. Its effects are relatively short lived, and, in most cases, further therapy is necessary to prevent recurrence of the life-threatening condition. According to Mayo Clinic, anyone who suffers an anaphylactic reaction to an insect sting should be taken to see a medical professional immediately, whether they have been given a dose of epinephrine or not.
A severe reaction may also require a course of oral or injected corticosteroids under the guidance of a medical professional.
Whether mild or severe, you can recover fully from insect sting allergic reactions with the proper medication. Talk to your doctor if you have any questions or concerns about drugs for insect sting allergies.
Written by: the Healthline Editorial Staff & Julie Roddick
Published on: Sep 08, 2014
Medically reviewed on: Sep 08, 2014: Kenneth R. Hirsch, MD
Enter your symptoms in our Symptom Checker to find out possible causes of your symptoms. Go.
Enter any list of prescription drugs and see how they interact with each other and with other substances. Go.
Enter its color and shape information, and this tool helps you identify it. Go.
Find information on drug interactions, side effects, and more. Go.
From companies that meet the high standards of service and quality set by AARP.
Members save 10% on the monthly service charge of qualified AT&T wireless plans.
Members pay $9.50 for Regal ePremiere Tickets purchased online.
Members earn points on select Walgreens-brand health and wellness products.
Join or renew today! Members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change.