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Insect Stings

Facts about insect stings:

Bees, wasps, yellow jackets, and hornets belong to a class of insects called Hymenopteran. Most insect stings cause only minor discomfort. Stings can occur anywhere on the body and can be painful and frightening for a child. Yellow jackets cause the most allergic reactions in the US. Stings from these insects cause three to four times more deaths than poisonous snake bites, due to severe allergic reaction. Fire ants, usually found in southern states, can sting multiple times, and the sites are more likely to become infected.

The two greatest risks from most insect stings are allergic reaction (which can sometimes be fatal if the allergic reaction is severe enough) and infection (more common and less serious).

What are the symptoms of an insect sting?

The following are the most common symptoms of insect stings. However, each child may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:

Treatment for stings:

Specific treatment for stings will be determined by your child's physician. Large local reactions usually do not lead to generalized reactions. However, they can be life threatening if the sting occurs in the mouth, nose, or throat area. This is due to swelling that can close off the airway.

Treatment for local skin reactions only may include:

Call 911 or your local emergency medical service (EMS) and seek emergency care immediately if your child is stung in the mouth, nose, or throat area, or for any signs of a systemic or generalized reaction.

Emergency medical treatment may include the following:

Prevention of insect stings:

Some general guidelines to help reduce the possibility of insect stings while outdoors include:

Some additional preventive measures for children who have a known or suspected allergy to stings include the following:

Click here to view the
Online Resources of Common Childhood Injuries & Poisonings


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