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Insect Allergies

It is normal to experience pain, stinging and some swelling if stung by an insect. However, if you have an allergy to the insect venom, your reaction could be much more serious. Knowing the differences between a normal reaction and an allergic reaction is important.

An allergic reaction occurs when the immune system overreacts to an allergen. In the case of a stinging insect allergy, the allergen is the venom from the sting.

The following list of insects generally cause the most serious reactions:

  • Yellow jackets
  • Honeybees
  • Paper wasps
  • Hornets
  • Fire ants


Symptoms include pain, redness and swelling at the site of an insect sting. This is a normal reaction that takes place in the area of the bite.

A serious allergic reaction occurs when the immune system gets involved and overreacts to the venom, causing symptoms in more than one part of the body such as:

  • Swelling of the face, throat or tongue
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Dizziness
  • Stomach cramps
  • Nausea or diarrhea
  • Itchiness and hives over large areas of the body

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Source: aaaai.org