Insects and Allergic Reactions


Recently, we spoke about insects of the stinging variety in our blog, and the way they can affect children, pets and those with allergies. For those with severe allergies, one bite or sting can be life threatening.

Most insects do not bite or sting unless they are provoked or feel threatened, however, accidents can happen, so it is important to know what to do if a sting or bite does occur.

Allergic Reactions

A study conducted by the University of Melbourne, published in January 2017, found that of 42,000 hospitalisations caused by venomous stings and bites in the 13 years prior to the study publication; bees and wasps were responsible for 33%, while spiders caused another 30% of hospitalisations.

Of the 64 people who were killed by a venomous sting or bite, 34 people had experienced anaphylactic shock and over half of the deaths occurred at home.

Identifying the Insect Behind the Sting

Accidents with stings and bites can and do happen – especially if we are enjoying the outdoors with no shoes on, we’re out on a walk with exposed skin or we are in an area with high bee or wasp activity. Knowing which insect has caused a sting or bite is imperative to making sure you get the correct treatment, especially if you know you have a severe reaction to a particular insect.

Signs and Symptoms of an Allergic Reaction

While a normal bite or sting may involve some swelling and redness, an allergic reaction can cause mild to severe symptoms, such as:

  • Itchiness
  • Skin rashes and hives
  • Severe swelling around puncture site, limbs, throat or tongue
  • Dizziness and/or fainting
  • Short breath or trouble breathing
  • Stomach pain, vomiting, diarrhea
  • Unconsciousness
  • Anaphylaxis

Treatment for Allergic Reactions

If the sting or bite does cause an allergic reaction, getting immediate medical treatment can sometimes be the difference between life and death.

Those who are aware of their severe allergies can be prescribed with single-dose adrenaline (epinephrine) to carry with them to treat their reactions. This is commonly provided in the form of an “Epi-pen”, with the doses designed to be administered by family, friends, teachers or general citizens if a person does have an allergic reaction.

Asthmatic Allergic Reactions

Approximately 1 in 9 Australians have asthma, and for those who have it, allergies can worsen symptoms or trigger an attack. Allergic asthma is the most commonly diagnosed type of asthma, and triggers for these attacks can come from allergens such as pollen, dust mites, mould, animal fur and cockroaches.

Examples of asthma symptoms include:

  • breathlessness,
  • wheezing,
  • a tight feeling in the chest, and/or
  • continuing cough

Correct diagnosis and treatment of asthma is important, and a doctor will provide asthmatics with a treatment plan for any future attacks.

If you or someone in your family suffers from insect allergies, it is important to control any exposure to those insects as much as possible! Contact the friendly, expert team at The Pest Guys today to book affordable, professional pest control in Perth.