Normal Reaction Sting Treatment
For stings causing itch, irritation, redness and swelling at the sting site, the following can be useful –
• Baking Soda
• Meat Tenderizer – for individuals not allergic to bee stings. Use any brand with Papain. Make a paste with a few drops of water to a teaspoon of meat tenderizer and quickly apply to the sting to decrease pain and inflammation (breaks down components of sting fluid).
• Ammonia Solution – Apply a 1 to 2.5 percent solution no more than three to four times daily.
• Oral Antihistamines – Tablets may be chewed for speedier relief, but liquids are more quickly absorbed right after oral ingestion (Chlortrimeton, Dimetane, Teldrin).
• Epinephrine Inhaler (Bronkaid mist, Primatene, Medihaler-Epi)
• Topical Steroids (Cortaid, Dermolate, Lanacort, etc.)
• Local Anesthetics (Benzocaine, Americaine, Dermoplast, Bactine, Foille, Lanacaine, Solarcaine)
• Oral Steroids – Prescription only.
These medicines may be located in a tackle box, in camping gear, inside the car and inside the home. Store at room temperature away from room lighting or sunlight.
Emergency Kits for Insect Stings
Highly-sensitive persons should’ve two emergency kits prescribed for them by their physician within easy access at all times. One kit ought to be carried at all times as well as the other kept inside the family car or truck. It is most effective to store kits in a cool, dry place (refrigeration) with easy access.
The kit contains a single sterile syringe of Epinephrine (adrenalin) EPIPEN, ready for injection, four chewable, yellow tablets of Chlortrimeton (antihistamine), two sterile alcohol swabs for cleaning the injection site and a single tourniquet.
Inject the syringe into the thigh (subcutaneously) beneath the skin as soon as the 1st sting symptoms show. A tourniquet placed above the sting site, when on an arm or leg just tight enough to obstruct blood return but not so tight as to stop circulation, will support until medical remedy is obtained. Loosen the tourniquet every 10 minutes.
Other kits include ANA Emergency Insect Sting Kit and Insect Sting Kit accessible by prescription only at the drugstore or pharmacy.
Hypersensitivity Testing and Desensitization Program
Diagnostic skin testing with insect venom(s) is advised for those who have experienced immediate systemic reaction to an insect sting. About half of adult patients will react similarly or worse to another sting unless desensitized with a series of appropriate venom injections. The percentage of serious reactions to another sting is less with children, but may still occur.
Immunotherapy is given about every four weeks, indefinitely, unless skin tests indicate the patient is no longer sensitive. Freeze-dried venom from Honey Bee, yellowjacket, baldfaced hornet, etc. is accessible. They are believed to be 98 to 99% effective.
The initial year of insect sting shots costs about $1,000 for a single venom. Subsequent years, when shots are given less often, run about $500 each.
Sometimes shots are stopped following five years, if one has had a negative skin test, never had a life-threatening reaction and received several stings without ill effect. Shots are not stopped on those who have had a life-threatening reaction and there is uncertainty about the patient being resensitized.