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Venom Immunotherapy to the Aid of Insect Stings

by Savitha C Muppala on May 15, 2013 at 9:56 AM
Venom Immunotherapy to the Aid of Insect Stings

While enjoying in the outdoors, there is a fear of being stung by insects and this can be a scary experience.

Many people who have experienced insect bites go on to develop a local reaction at the place where they have been stung. This could cause them to experience swelling, redness, pain and itching. For some, the reaction can be severe which can last up to a week.


Statistics have shown that nearly one in every 150 insect stings in children and one in 300 in adults has caused even life threatening situations. In some cases, bee and wasp allergies after a sting have caused severe reactions and even death.

Venom immunotherapy comes to the aid of many patients, which involves introducing small quantities of an insect's sting into the body initially and then slowly increasing the dose to help the immune system adjust and not overreact. When body's defenses overreact, it causes an anaphylactic shock.

A recent review of seven trials that studied 400 patients, found the effectiveness of venom injections. This has prompted the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) to recommend this treatment for more patients.

'It makes a huge difference to patients' quality of life once you factor in the anxiety they suffer around the possibility of being stung again,' says Dr Robert Boyle, a consultant paediatric allergist at St Mary's Hospital in London.

'Stings rarely kill, but they can be very frightening. Once people have the treatment it gives them confidence to take up outdoor activities again. But many GPs are unaware of the treatment.'

Source: Medindia
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