Avoiding insect stings, treating allergic reactions

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – Summer is a time bees are out in full force. Any kind of insect sting can be painful, but if your child is allergic, stings can cause serious and even deadly reactions.

Dr. Kristin Farr with East Tennessee Children’s Hospital says the most common insects that can trigger an allergic reaction are honeybees, yellow jackets, hornets and wasps. In an allergic child, the sting causes the body’s immune system to overreact to the protein in venom, causing allergy symptoms.

Signs and symptoms of an allergic reaction can include severe swelling, wheezing, trouble breathing or passing out, throat tightness and hives.

Allergic reactions to stings usually don’t occur when a child is stung for the first time. The reaction usually occurs when a child is stung for a second time or even later.

In the case of a severe reaction, use an EpiPen if available and call 911. In the case of a non-severe reaction, if the insect’s stinger is visible, remove it as quickly as possible by scraping the skin horizontally with the edge of a credit card or your fingernail. Wash the area with soap and water. Apply ice or a cool, wet cloth to the area to relieve pain and swelling.

To prevent insect stings, avoid walking barefoot in the grass. Avoid playing n flower beds. Never disturb an insect nest. Avoid perfumes, scented body products and brightly colored clothing because they all attract insects.

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