The majority of people are not allergic to insect stings or bites, and understanding the difference between and allergic reaction to a sting and the normal reaction to a sting is important.

Each year thousands of people attend hospital A & E departments because they have been stung by an insect. It is believed however that only 0.4% to 0.8% of children are allergic to insect stings and around 3% of all adults are actually allergic.

There are many different insects that can inject venom if we are stung by them. In the UK these include Bees, Wasps, Yellow Jackets, Hornets and others. If you are stung by an insect the normal reaction will be the onset of some pain at the site of the sting, some redness and swelling usually just around the site of the sting but can sometimes spread beyond, occasional flushing, itching and an outbreak of hives. These are all the likely normal reactions to a sting and are not a sign that you are allergic to the venom. Better2Know offers a comprehensive test for a number of insect stings and venom:

However, for those individuals who are allergic to the venom further and more severe reactions will occur. In addition to hives, itching and swelling in areas other than the immediate site of the sting, symptoms including abdominal cramping, vomiting, nausea and diarrhoea can occur. Other symptoms can include difficulty breathing, chest tightness, swelling of the face, tongue, throat and around the eyes. In severe cases anaphylaxis can occur within minutes of the sting and this may be life-threatening. Anaphylaxis usually has symptoms including a sharp fall in blood pressure, dizziness, difficulty maintaining breathing, cardiac arrest and death. This can only be treated with immediate medical attention usually with the administration of certain drugs. Better2Know has a range of tests to help you understand whether you are allergic to insect venoms. Our tests will screen you for any allergies to Common Wasp, Yellow Jacket, Bee, Paper Wasp, Yellow Hornet, White Faced Hornet venoms.

If you are concerned that you may be allergic to any of these insects, then you should consider getting tested.

Please contact Better2Know on the number at the top of the page to speak to a trained advisor and book your test.