Insects, more specifically their stings, are also common allergens. Probably the most common insect allergy is bee allergy. Insect allergies are usually associated with insects that are capable of stinging. Aside from bees, other stinging insects that may cause allergic reactions are hornets, yellow jackets, wasps and fire ants.
The area affected by a bee allergy is usually the location of the sting. The common signs and symptoms are localized pain or itching, swelling and redness. There are some cases where in the area of the allergy spreads resulting to larger inflated areas. There are very rare cases wherein bee allergy causes a very severe allergic reaction known as anaphylaxis. When this occurs, the affected person experiences difficulty of breathing, swelling of body parts beyond the stung area such as the face, throat and mouth, dizziness, accelerated pulse and a sever decrease in blood pressure. This requires immediate medical attention.
Bees commonly build nests or hives in hollows of trees, logs or even in buildings. When away from the hive, bees are not very aggressive and, therefore, they rarely sting people. However, bees are particularly aggressive near their hives, especially when their home is being disturbed or threatened. This aggression is natural and serves as a defense mechanism. This is why it is important to report presence of any insect hives near homes so that they can be removed immediately and also to avoid incidents of insect stings that may lead to allergies.
Bee allergy caused by bee stains is quite painful. The effects of a bee sting may vary depending on the bee species. The worker honey bees are the ones that have stingers. The strings of honey bees are barbed at the end. When honey bees sting a skin of a mammal, for example, the barbed end lodges onto the skin of the victim. When the honey bee flies away, the stinger is torn loose from the bee's abdomen which leads to its death after a couple of minutes.
When stinging a victim, the bee's stinger injects venom with alarm pheromones into the skin and subcutaneous tissues. The alarm pheromones attract other bees into the site. The first course of treatment for a bee allergy is to remove any stinger plus the sac of venom left on the skin. This must be done as soon as possible. This results any more venom from seeing into the skin. The chemical composition of the venom is the usually the cause of the allergic reaction. A bee's venom is acidic and can be neutralized by injecting alkali solutions around affected area. Doing this will produce a reliably neutral pH, which will eventually reduce pain. The resulting infection can be treated using a cold compress.
The symptoms of a bee allergy have varying durations. The pain thought about by the sting may last for a few hours but the swing and itching may stay for about a week. Scratching can only aggravate the pain and swelling so this should be avoided. It is more advisable to hire a professional exterminator for the removal of beehives.
People with bee apiaries should be fully-equipped with the right garments and protective suits before approaching beehives. People prone to bee allergy are advised to wear pants instead of shorts and long-sleeved shirts to less the area of exposed skin.