Preparing for your appointment

Bee and other insect stings are a common cause of anaphylaxis. If you've had a serious reaction to a bee sting but did not seek emergency treatment, consult your doctor. He or she may refer you to an allergy specialist (allergist) who can determine whether you're allergic to bee or other insect venom and can help you find ways to prevent future allergic reactions.

Your doctor or allergist will do a thorough physical examination and will want to know:

  • When and where you were stung
  • What symptoms you had after getting stung
  • Whether you've had an allergic reaction to an insect sting in the past, even if it was minor
  • Whether you have other allergies, such as hay fever
  • What medications you take, including herbal remedies
  • Any health problems you have

Some questions you might want to ask your doctor include:

  • What do I do if I get stung again?
  • If I have an allergic reaction, do I need to use emergency medication such as an epinephrine autoinjector (EpiPen, Auvi-Q, others)?
  • How can I prevent this reaction from happening again?

Don't hesitate to ask other questions, as well.

Oct. 04, 2016
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  2. Stinging insect allergy. American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. Accessed July 18, 2016.
  3. Simons FER. Anaphylaxis. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. 2010;125:S161.
  4. Bites and stings. American College of Emergency Physicians. Accessed July 18, 2016.
  5. Marx JA, et al., eds. Venomous animal injuries. In: Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 8th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2014. Accessed July 18, 2016.
  6. Campbell RL, et al. Anaphylaxis: Emergency treatment. Accessed July 18, 2016.
  7. Golden DBK. Stinging insect allergy. American Family Physician. 2003;67:2541.
  8. Casale TB, et al. Hymenoptera-sting hypersensitivity. New England Journal of Medicine. 2014;370:1432.