No one likes to see bugs at their picnic, but those with allergies often have more to worry about than a fly near their sandwich. A bite can trigger life-threatening reactions for many people. Here’s what to look out for and how best to keep yourself safe.
The most concerning responses to bites often come from insects with stingers, including wasps, bees, hornets, yellowjackets and fire ants, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. It’s not just the pain from the pierce of a pincer. Venom gets released into wounds. Most recover within hours or days. But for those with more serious allergies, the Mayo Clinic says, doctors may advise keeping epinephrine, albuterol, cortisone or even oxygen around. Consult a physician immediately if you experience a toxic reaction with adverse reactions like seizures or having trouble breathing.
Biters and suckers
Most people have some reaction to mosquito bites, such as itching and minor swelling around the point of contact. The AAFA says many also have similar reactions to fleas, ticks and even some flies that aggressively bite. If you are spending time outside frequently, use repellants to stave off attention from all these insects, and be prepared with antihistamines and anti-itch lotions to address any immediate reactions.
Lone Star ticks, common in the southeast from Texas to Iowa and over to New England, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, can cause some people to develop meat allergies after being bitten Make sure to consult with an allergist after such a bite to discuss avoiding triggers to further reactions. Other types of biting insects like bed bugs on rare occasions can bring on severe reactions. Be prepared to address swelling or stinging if you have any type of significant reaction to bites.
Bugs don’t have to assail you directly to threaten your health. The AAFA says many suffer cockroach allergies, reacting to allergens within the waste and saliva spread by the pests; those threats can even be presented by the presence of dead roaches. Dust mites pose a similar threat. Antihistamines and corticosteroids can be used to address symptoms, but if you have this type of allergy, the best solution is to avoid exposure by keeping your home clean. Cover trash tightly and store food in airtight containers. Don’t allow dirty dishes or garbage to pile up in the home. If you still have a problem, have a professional seal any cracks in your home where the bugs may find a way inside.
Allergic Reactions to stings
If you have reactions to exposure for any type of allergens, experts recommend seeing an allergist and being tested before you have to deal with a problem in an emergency. If you find yourself suffering cold-like symptoms over an extend period of time in your own home, it’s wise to consult with a professional and identify what’s causing problems. Then you can be prepared and react appropriately to any type of threat.
Bug sprays typically can do the job of keeping insects away. But if you have a sensitivity to DEET or picaridin, chemicals found in most mosquito repellants, make sure to seek out natural alternatives like eucalyptus oils or geraniol products like citronella, lemongrass or rose oil.
Also, when spending time outdoors, remember to wear socks and shoes. And if you are spending time in wooded or rural areas, you might want to wear long sleeved shirts and pants. Keep in mind perfumes and bright colored clothing also tend to attract insects.
If you do suffer from severe insect allergies, make sure to have someone with you when you are spending time outdoors to help provide assistance in emergency. If you ever had an allergic reaction to an insect sting, carry epinephrine with you wherever you go.