Stinging Insect & Drug Allergy


The severity of an insect sting (yellow jacket, hornets, wasp or honeybee) reaction can vary.  A normal reaction will result in pain, redness and swelling at the site.  Treatment is disinfect and apply ice.  Large local reactions are next, and may linger for several days, requiring antihistamines and corticosteroids.

The most serious reaction to an insect sting is an allergic one, requiring immediate medical attention.  Symptoms may include one or more of the following:

  • Hives, itching and swelling away from the sting
  • Cramping, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea
  • Chest tightness or difficulty breathing
  • Swelling of tongue or throat
  • Dizziness or a sharp drop in blood pressure
  • Unconsciousness or cardiac arrest.

People who have experienced an allergic reaction have a 60% chance of a similar or worse reaction if stung again.

After emergency treatment, long term management involves carrying injectable epinephrine (carried at all times) and venom immunotherapy.  Immunotherapy is highly effective and involves administering doses of venom to decrease a patient’s sensitivity, allowing a return to normal life.  Treatment begins with history and skin testing.


Adverse reactions to medications are common problems that can have either an allergic/immunologic basis, or are triggered by other causes, such as drug intolerance or side effect.  Examples of drug side effects are abdominal pain from Erythromycin and jitteriness from Albuterol.  The same drug, such as Penicillin, can cause reactions by several different pathways, occurring within minutes to days to weeks after starting the medication.  Symptoms can be the same as those of food or insect sting allergies.  In most instances, a careful review of the history and physical findings can distinguish drug allergy from other reactions.  Skin testing, drug challenge, or bloodwork may sometimes be required. 

Why Choose Us?

  • Treating Allergies and Asthma in All Ages
  • Dr. Weinreb is Double Board Certified
  • Customized Treatment Plans
  • Highly Trained Office Staff
  • Minimally Invasive Techniques Offered
  • State of the Art Facilities (two offices)
  • Committed to Continuing Education
  • Evening Appointments Available
  • Emergency Same-Day Appointments Available

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