When you see a bee flying around the picnic table, are you the first one to jump up and run away? You are not alone! These stinging insects belong to the order Hymenoptera, and include more than just bees, it also includes yellow jackets, hornets, paper wasps and fire ants. It is not uncommon to develop large, localized swelling and itching after a bee sting, but for some the reaction could be much more severe. A venom allergy is when an individual develops a reaction involving more than one organ system, for example hives and difficulty breathing, or a significant reaction involving the skin, which could be swelling of an area that was not stung, such as your face when you were stung on the leg.
The good news is, there are treatment options available to those with venom allergies. First, make an appointment with your Colorado Allergy and Asthma provider, for them to order the appropriate testing to evaluate your symptoms and confirm the diagnosis. Then, a treatment plan can be discussed, which might include having an epi-pen on hand or starting allergen immunotherapy, also known as allergy shots. Allergy shots are a unique treatment option because it is a way to desensitize your body to your allergens over time, usually over 3-5 years. It is a great option to control allergies long term and decreasing the bodies allergic response to future venom stings. Controlling your venom allergy, will give you the power to enjoy the outdoors without added fear.