To my C-21 friends ~ my apologies!
Summer is winding down but the number of stinging insects, such as yellow jackets and wasps, flying through the air, have not. In my case getting stung results in a big ouch, temporary redness, swelling and itching at the site of the sting. Hoewever for a small number of people with severe venom allergy, these stings may be life-threatening.
The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI) and the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN) urge people who suffer from a stinging insect allergy to take extra precautions and to carry epinephrine with them at all times.
"September through October is prime sting season; a nest that had a few dozen yellow jackets in July may have thousands in late September" said David B.K. Golden, MD, Fellow of the AAAAI and member of the AAAAI's Insect Allergy Committee. "Therefore, be careful when doing yard work or attending football games this fall."
Up to 5% of Americans are at risk for severe, potentially life-threatening allergic reactions from stinging insects. Unfortunately, most people are not aware that they are allergic to insect stings until after experiencing a reaction.
When an allergic person is stung, his or her body produces an antibody called Immunoglobulin E (IgE). The venom reacts with the IgE antibodies which trigger the release of histamine and other chemicals that cause allergic reactions. Severe allergic reactions to insect stings can involve many body organs and may develop rapidly. This reaction is called anaphylaxis.
Symptoms of anaphylaxis are:
- Itching and hives over large areas of the body
- Swelling in the throat or tongue
- Difficulty breathing
- Stomach cramps
- In severe cases, a rapid fall in blood pressure may result in shock or loss of consciousness
The AAAAI's Insect Allergy Committee recommends the following tips to avoid insect stings:
- Stay out of the "territory" of stinging insects' nests
- Hire a trained exterminator to destroy nest and hives near your home
- Don't drink from a straw or can that you cannot see inside of, this is a favorite place for yellow jackets to hide
- Do not swat at stinging insects if encountered by them
- Avoid wearing heavy perfume and brightly colored clothing outdoors
- Keep all food covered outside until eaten
In my area of the Brainerd Lakes in Minnesota, ground nests are common and difficult to find until you disturb one ( then run like the wind). Yellowjackets also love piles of old hay or straw. They nest under stairs, in dark cavities and get particularly annoyed by vibrations.
Play safe , they do not play nice!