Preparing for your appointmentBy Mayo Clinic staff
Bee and other insect stings are a common cause of anaphylaxis. If you've had a serious reaction to a bee sting but did not seek emergency treatment, consult your doctor. He or she may refer you to an allergy specialist (allergist) who can determine whether you're allergic to bee or other insect venom and can help you find ways to prevent future allergic reactions.
Your doctor or allergist will do a thorough physical examination and will want to know:
- How long ago you got stung
- Where you were stung
- Exactly what symptoms you had after getting stung
- Whether you've had an allergic reaction to an insect sting in the past, even if it was minor
- Whether you have any other allergies, such as hay fever
- What medications you take, including herbal remedies
- Any health problems you have
You also might want to ask the following questions of your doctor:
- What do I do if I get stung in the future?
- If I have an allergic reaction, do I need to use emergency medication such as an epinephrine autoinjector (EpiPen, Twinject)?
- How can I prevent this from happening again?
Don't hesitate to ask questions during your appointment at any time that you don't understand something.
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- Stinging insect allergy: How to avoid the ouch. American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology. http://www.aaaai.org/patients/topicofthemonth/0607/. Accessed Sept. 21, 2010.
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- Skin emergencies. National Center for Farmworker Health. http://www.ncfh.org/pdfs/BilingualEd/PDF9.pdf. Accessed Sept. 21, 2010.
- Insect stings. The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Healthcare Professionals. http://www.merck.com/mmpe/print/sec21/ch325/ch325d.html. Accessed Sept. 23, 2010.
- Tracy JM. Diagnosis of hymenoptera venom allergy. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Sept. 23, 2010.
- Breisch NL, et al. Bees, yellowjackets, hornets, and wasps: Avoidance. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Sept. 23, 2010.