Effects of Stinging Insects
According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI), potentially life-threatening allergic reactions to insect venom occurs in 0.4% to 0.8% of children and 3 percent of adults. Even if a person typically experiences mild reactions to insect stings, it is possible to develop a more serious allergic reaction at any time in the future. Therefore, it is important to avoid insect stings whenever possible and to know how to respond when someone is suffering from a severe allergic reaction.
According to the AAACI website, five (5) insects cause the majority of sting-related allergic reactions in the United States. These insects include honeybees, hornets, wasps, yellow jackets and fire ants. According to the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), thousands of people are stung by insects in the United States each year; and, as many as 90 to 100 sting victims die from allergic reactions. Insect stings can result in any of the following symptoms:
A more serious reaction to an insect sting is Anaphylaxis, which is a life-threatening, whole-body allergic reaction that can impair breathing, cause a rapid drop in blood pressure and affect your heart rate. Anaphylaxis requires immediate medical treatment, which includes an injection of epinephrine and a trip to a hospital emergency room. Without proper treatment, anaphylaxis can be fatal.
Avoiding stinging insects is not always possible. However, on job sites with elevated risk of insect stings, inspect the area for insect nests prior to the start of work. Additionally, if a worker is suffering some type of serious allergic reaction, call 911 immediately, even if epinephrine has been administered.