Allergy to insects

Allergy caused by insects, depending on the type of exposure, can occur in the following forms:

  • skin reaction to bite (can be extensive, spreading around the bite site);

  • systemic reaction of the whole organism to the effect of stinging insects;

  • Respiratory reaction in the event that insects or the substances released by them are in the respiratory tract.

  • Allergic reactions of the body are divided into two types:

  • immediate - they manifest themselves almost immediately (within a few minutes), and last for several days;

  • delayed - occur after 1 or 2 days after contact.

  • Causes of allergies

    The most severe systemic allergic reactions are caused by stinging insects, such as wasps, hornets, bees, which inject poison with a sting. Mosquitoes cause, as a rule, a local skin reaction, because they inject not saliva but saliva. In the warm season, inhalation of small midge and scales from the wings of Lepidopteran insects can cause a respiratory allergic reaction.


    The emergence and development of an allergic reaction to bite or stinging of insects (hereinafter - bite) can arise as a result of the presence of allergic antibodies (reactans) in the poison, in particular: phospholipase A2 hyaluronidase, mellitine, allergen S. False allergies can cause histamine, kinin, acetylcholine, present in the poison and saliva of insects.


    Symptoms of allergy

    The local skin reaction at the site of the insect bite is expressed in the form of edema and reddening of the skin (erythema), which appeared as a result of the expansion of the capillaries. The diameter of the erythema leaves about 10 cm and is usually preserved during the day. Simultaneously with the local reaction, other manifestations of allergies are possible, such as facial flushing, nausea, urticaria, angioedema, abdominal pain and diarrhea. Due to swelling of the nasopharynx of the larynx, trachea and bronchospasm, breathing can be difficult.

    The most severe form of allergy is anaphylactic shock, which occurs when any part of the body is affected, but the likelihood of its occurrence with a bite in the neck and head is greatest.

    As a rule, anaphylactic shock occurs within 15 minutes after the lesion, but there may be a later occurrence.

    After one or two weeks after the bite, symptoms similar to serum sickness may appear.

    Diagnosis of allergy

    The diagnosis of contact with insects is based on data obtained by interviewing the victim (anamnesis) and examination of the affected area.

    In this case it is important that the patient himself knows to what part of the body he was bitten. In addition, skin testing is carried out using an extract of poisonous stinging insects.

    Treatment of allergy

    If the patient does not have an allergic reaction to insect bites, then treatment is usually not required. It is enough to extract the remains of the insect sting, apply ice or compress to the affected area and take painkillers.

    If there is an extensive reaction of the skin that covers a large surface of the body or the entire limb, you need to take an antihistamine (for children to give after consulting a doctor) that removes symptoms.

    If there is a systematic reaction, then medical care is needed. People who know about the presence of an allergic reaction to insect bites need to have a special first aid kit. If there is a risk of a systematic reaction, you should urgently take an antihistamine or inject epinephrine. In case of aggravation of reaction, it is necessary to contact a medical institution.


    People who have an allergic reaction after an insect bite are recommended:

  • in the summer, during the exit to the street, if possible, dress in such a way that clothing covers the body;

  • when going out to the street to pick up clothes of soft colors so as not to attract insects;

  • To exclude walking on the street barefoot (especially on the grass);

  • on the street wear a headdress;

  • be careful while eating, as in the summer time it is possible to get insects into food or drinks (especially sweet), even when in the room;

  • Do not use medicines containing propolis;

  • When a stinging insect appears, do not make sudden movements.

  • For timely action, the parent needs to know the procedure for providing first aid to the child in case of an insect bite.