As we settle into winter, the expected seasonal allergies brought on by warm weather and pollen may seem to be months away. However, many insects survive year round and cause allergies of their own. Being aware of typical insect allergies and symptoms of a reaction is essential during any time of year. Follow along for more information about common insect allergies.
First and foremost, it is important to note the difference between normal and allergic reactions to insect exposure. While a normal reaction typically goes away within minutes, hours or days, allergic reactions tend to be more severe or may last weeks on end. Many familiar bugs cause allergic reactions. Reactions normally occur due to either direct stings and bites or simply from their presence in your home. Here are some common creepy-crawlies and their consequences.
Stinging bugs such as bees, wasps, hornets and yellow-jackets are very common culprits. Being stung and consequently injected with venom is not only painful, but can cause lasting allergic reactions. Most people develop a red bump, itchiness or swelling in response to a sting. In a normal reaction, this discomfort will subside in hours or days. If you have an allergic reaction, your body produces antibodies called Immunoglobulin E (IgE) that will be triggered each time bitten. When triggered, you can have an extreme, life-threatening reaction called “anaphylaxis”. Symptoms of anaphylaxis may include hives, swelling of the throat or tongue, dizziness, nausea, and fainting. Emergency medical treatment and consulting an allergist is recommended if you experience any of these symptoms after a sting.
Bugs that bite such as bedbugs, fleas, ticks and mosquitos also instigate an array of reactions. Besides the common red bumps and itchiness, severe reactions can include trouble breathing, chest pain, nausea, rapid heartbeat, wheezing, itching, wheezing and other symptoms similar to sting reactions. Some people are hypersensitive to a bug’s saliva, resulting in infection. Symptoms of infection include pus, fever, and flu-like symptoms. One particularly notable bite is that of the Lone Star tick, which can cause some people to sustain an allergy to meat. Although rare, this acts like any allergy-an adverse and lasting reaction in the immune system.
Simply living in the presence of some bugs spurs allergic reactions. The most common and persistent are dust mites. These insects live year-round in your home, therefore causing reoccurring allergies for those susceptible. Dust mites are microscopic, but their decaying bodies often form visible dust. Thus, keeping your house clean through vacuuming, sanitizing, dusting, and general upkeep can reduce the impact of dust mites. Symptoms of a dust mite allergy often resemble hay fever or a common cold- sneezing, runny nose, itchy eyes, congestion, coughing. Dust mite allergies can be increasingly severe and contribute to those with existing asthma. Some symptoms of more severe dust mite allergies include difficulty breathing, chest pain, poor sleep or asthma attacks. If you experience any of these symptoms for over a week, you likely have allergies. Once again, consulting an allergy doctor is recommended to establish a diagnosis.
There are a number of risk factors associated with allergic reactions. Being aware of your family history is very important, as allergies are often genetic. Also, being a kid/teen/young adult is another risk factor. Allergies often develop when you’re very young or have been continuously exposed to an allergen. Being proactive about your health by seeking medical consultation is the best way to mitigate risk factors. In order to prevent allergic reactions to insects, it is also advisable to consider pest control services in your home. An experienced pest control company like Black Diamond can provide guidance and expert service, keeping you and your family as protected as possible from bugs and insects of all types.