The absolute worst time to discover a life-threatening bee sting allergy is when you or a loved one has just been stung. At this point, your only course of action is calling 911 and heading to the nearest emergency room. Here's what you need to know about allergy testing and being prepared for a life-threatening event.
Step One: Get an Allergy Test
If you have a family history of severe allergic reactions, or you or your child has shown a systemic reaction to bee stings in the past, getting a formal test from an allergist is a good place to start. A systemic reaction includes symptoms such as swelling of eyes, lips, tongue, or throat; dizziness; and difficulty breathing.
There are two kinds of tests typically administered. A skin test and a RAST test. For a skin test, a small amount of bee venom is injected just under the skin of the arm or upper back. If you are sensitive to bee stings, your skin will react by turning red and displaying a raised area at the injection site. This is a valuable test, but should be used in conjunction with the RAST test (raradioallergosorbent test), which is a blood test that is more accurate. Together they can give you an idea if you have an allergy to bee venom that requires further treatment. Your doctor may also test for sensitivity to wasps, hornets, and yellow jackets, as well.
Step Two: Common Treatments
Treatments of bee sting allergies fall into two categories; proactive and reactive. If your allergist has determined that you have a moderate to severe sensitivity to bee stings, he or she may decide to prescribe proactive allergy shots. These are usually administered as a series of injections over time to desensitize your immune system in its reaction to bee venom.
Reactive measures may include a prescription for auto-injectable epinephrine that you can carry with you at all times in case of emergencies. It is very important to familiarize yourself and other family members with the operation of the injector so you'll be able to respond to an anaphylaxis reaction as fast as possible.
They say knowledge is power, and that's certainly true when it comes to bee stings. By arming yourself with the knowledge that any sting could cause a severe reaction, you can prepare yourself to react calmly and quickly should the need arise. For more information, talk to a professional like Oak Brook Allergists.
My name is Shawna Banks and this is a blog that focuses on health issues that affect women. I became interested in women's health when my sister began having medical problems. After her condition worsened, she went to see a doctor. After her diagnosis and successful treatment, I helped her research the different kinds of health conditions that are common in women. By becoming knowledgeable about these types of problems, we can keep ourselves healthier. I hope that when you read this blog, it will help you to identify symptoms that shouldn't be ignored. If necessary, you can schedule an appointment with your physician as soon as possible.