Insect Allergy

Definition

Allergies are abnormal or adverse reactions to a substance. Insect allergies are a reaction to insect stings or bites. It can also occur with exposure to such insects in an environment.
Insect Bites
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Causes

Stinging insects include:
  • Honeybees
  • Yellow jackets
  • Hornets
  • Wasps
  • Fire ants
Biting insects include:
  • Blackflies
  • Fleas
  • Horseflies
  • Mosquitoes
  • Kissing bugs
Insects that cause respiratory allergies include:
  • Cockroaches
  • Midges
  • Lake flies
  • Caddis flies

Risk Factors

Other factors that may increase your chance of insect allergies include:
  • History of other types of allergies, including hay fever
  • Family history of allergy
  • Occupations that expose you to insects
  • Living conditions that expose you to insects or dust-containing insect allergens

Symptoms

An allergy to biting and stinging insects can affect the area around the bite or sting and cause:
  • Skin rash
  • Hives
  • Itching
  • Swelling
  • Redness
  • Hotness
Anaphylaxis can be a life-threatening reaction that causes:
  • Skin rash, hives, itching, swelling in areas away from the sting site
  • Swelling of lips, tongue, face, throat, and eyelids
  • Difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, coughing, wheezing
  • Lightheadedness, fainting
  • Severe drop in blood pressure
  • Respiratory and/or cardiac arrest
Some insects cause respiratory allergies that result in:
  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Wheezing
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Shortness of breath

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