If you've had a reaction to bee stings that suggests you might be allergic to bee venom, your doctor may suggest one or both of the following tests:
- Skin test. During skin testing, a small amount of allergen extract (in this case, bee venom) is injected into the skin of your arm or upper back. This test is safe and won't cause any serious reactions. If you're allergic to bee stings, you'll develop a raised bump on your skin at the test site.
- Allergy blood test. A blood test can measure your immune system's response to bee venom by measuring the amount of allergy-causing antibodies in your bloodstream. A blood sample is sent to a medical laboratory, where it can be tested for evidence of sensitivity to possible allergens.
Allergy skin tests and allergy blood tests are often used together to diagnose insect allergies. Your doctor may also want to test you for allergies to yellow jackets, hornets and wasps — which can cause allergic reactions similar to those of bee stings.
Feb. 07, 2014
- Freeman T. Bee, yellowjacket, wasp and hymenoptera stings: Reaction types and acute management. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed July 5, 2013.
- Stinging insect allergy: Tips to remember. American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. http://www.aaaai.org/conditions-and-treatments/library/allergy-library/stinging-insect-allergy.aspx. Accessed July 5, 2013.
- Skin emergencies. National Center for Farmworker Health. http://www.ncfh.org/pdfs/BilingualEd/PDF9.pdf. Accessed July 5, 2013.
- What to do in a medical emergency: Bites and stings. American College of Emergency Physicians Foundation. http://www.emergencycareforyou.org/EmergencyManual/WhatToDoInMedicalEmergency/Default.aspx?id=210#spider_bites_and_scorpion_stings. Accessed July 4, 2013.
- Tintinalli JE, et al. Tintinalli's Emergency Medicine: A Comprehensive Study Guide. 7th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw Hill Companies; 2011. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=40. Accessed July 5, 2013.
- Tracy JM. Diagnosis of hymenoptera venom allergy. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed July 5, 2013.
- Bee stings: Safety. U.S. Department of Agriculture. http://www.ars.usda.gov/research/docs.htm?docid=11067&page=1. Accessed July 5, 2013.
- Simons FER. Anaphylaxis. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. 2010;125:S161.
You Are ... The Campaign for Mayo Clinic
Mayo Clinic is a not-for-profit organization. Make a difference today.