HealthWatch: Insect Stings

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According to the CDC thousands of people are stung by insects each year. 

Bee, wasp and other insect stings can be deadly to people who are allergic to their venom and as many as 90 to 100 people in the United States die as a result of allergic reactions.  But there are ways to protect yourself.

During this time of year bees and wasps get more aggressive, “As fall approaches and winter comes they store more nutrients in their hive and become a little more aggressive in protecting that and seeking it out,” explained Bob Zemple, emergency room physician, Aurora BayCare Medical Center.

Which means the emergency room at Aurora BayCare Medical Center sees more patients with allergic reactions to insect stings this time of year, “I would see one or two a shift usually this time,” said Dr. Zemple.

Emergency responders like Lt. Shauna Walesh with the Green Bay Metro Fire Department  also see an increase in bee sting calls during this time, “All various stages of an allergic reaction from a mild sting not sure to the severe swallowing difficulty breathing,” said Lt. Shauna Walesh, Green Bay Metro Fire Department.

  
Emergency room doctor Bob Zemple says if its a mild reaction, “With only a little redness, a bump and some itching in the area of the sting that can often be treated with topical steroids or oral diphenhydramine or Benearyl,” said Dr. Zemple.

If a person is allergic– and has a severe reaction they could go into anaphylactic shock- and  that can be deadly, “Symptoms such as difficulty breathing, throat tightness, have dizziness or a bunch of sweating or any difficulty moving around or maintaining an upright position,” Said Dr. Zemple.

You should seek medical attention right away- call 911, “We stabilize the patient and get them to the nearest medical facility, said Lt. Walesh.

“We are going to treat immediately with epinephrine and start  protecting the airway, working on the breathing and monitoring their circulatory system,” said Dr. Zemple.


 If you are going to a festival or any outdoor event and know you’re allergic — be prepared, “We ask people to carry your Epi Pens,” said Lt. Walesh.


Plus avoid areas where bees and wasps hang out, “Garbage cans or areas that are a little bit off the main drag at festivals that could harbor some bee nests,” said Dr. Zemple.

“Try to  avoid fruity cologne or fragrances, be really careful with your drinks like cans bees kind of like to make their way into cans and drinks,” explained Lt. Walesh.

Dr. Zemple says a person can develop an allergy to insect venom at anytime after they are stung.
 
To learn more you can call AuroraBayCare at 866-938-0035 or email healthwatch@aurorabaycare.com

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