Managing Insect Allergies Over Summer

Summer doesn’t just mean parties and holidays. For people with insect allergies there is an increased risk of bites and stings as there are a larger number of insects in the environment and the amount of exposed skin is also greater.

There are some simple steps you can take to minimise the risk of insect stings or bites, including using insect repellents that contain DEET (Diethyltoluamide, N, N - diethyl - 3- methylbenzamide); wearing light-coloured clothes that cover most of your exposed skin; keeping grassed areas mowed; and avoiding wearing scented perfumes or creams as these can attract insects.

As well as minimising the risk of an insect sting or bite occurring, it is essential to know the signs and symptoms of an allergic reaction, including anaphylaxis, and to be prepared if a reaction happens. This means being familiar with your ASCIA Action Plan and keeping it with your adrenaline (epinephrine) injector (such as Anapen®, EpiPen®) at all times. See our article in this newsletter on signs and symptoms of an allergic reaction and how to give an adrenaline injector.

For people with insect allergy, gut symptoms after a sting or bite, such as nausea and vomiting, are a sign that anaphylaxis is occurring and adrenaline must be given. For people with food allergy, gut symptoms are a sign of a mild to moderate allergic reaction, not anaphylaxis. For further details, see www.allergyfacts.org.au/allergy-anaphylaxis/other-allergens/insect-bites-and-stings

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