A Natural Approach To Health
Living With Insect Allergy
I had a question the other day about insect allergies.
There are only a few stinging insects in the U.S. that can cause an allergic reaction: honeybees, hornets, yellowjackets, bumblebees, wasps, and ants.
Insects of the group known as hymenoptera, which includes bees, wasps, hornets, and ants, cause an allergic reaction in 10-20% of the population.
This reaction is known as an insect venom allergy, and it can be dangerous, even life-threatening.
The yellowjacket and honeybee are the cause of most allergic reactions to insects.
Allergic reactions to stings can cause wheezing, tightness in your throat, nausea, diarrhea, hives, itching, pain and swelling in your joints, respiratory distress, and vascular swelling.
If you have a mild allergy to venom, the reaction can happen within a few minutes, but if you experience a severe allergic reaction, the symptoms can take longer to appear (10-20 minutes).
If your reaction to the venom is delayed, symptoms like fever, hives, inflamed lymph glands, and joint pain can occur.
Sometimes, a person who’s highly allergic to insect venom can go into shock and die within minutes.
Signs of a dangerous reaction developing include confusion, difficulty swallowing, extreme drop in blood pressure, hoarseness, labored breathing, severe anxiety, severe swelling, weakness, and a feeling of impending disaster.
A more severe reaction can also result in closing of your airway, producing unconsciousness.
To deal with insect allergy it’s beneficial to:
*Drink 6-8 cups of purified water daily as it hydrates your body and flushes toxins.
*Calendula is an excellent topical cream to apply to skin irritations.
*Herbal flea-repellent pet collars contain oils of cedar, citronella, eucalyptus, rosemary, and rue. These herbs may be effective insect repellents for humans as well.
*Lavender may help relieve itching.
*Tea tree oil can be rubbed on exposed areas of skin to ward off insects. It can also be applied to bites. If pure tea tree oil is too strong, dilute it with canola oil or another low-fragrance vegetable oil until a tolerable strength is achieved.
*If you’ve ever had an allergic reaction to an insect sting in the past, you should have access to an epinephrine kit at all times.
*To avoid insect stings, wear plain, light-colored clothing when spending time outdoors – avoid wearing anything flowered or dark. Don’t wear shiny jewelry, and don’t use hair spray, perfume, scented soaps, or suntan lotion.
*Avoid areas where bees are concentrated, like orchards and flower gardens.
*If you’re bothered by a yellowjacket, don’t squash it; doing so releases a chemical to attract other yellowjackets and wasps. It’s best to leave these insects alone, or to find and destroy the nest after dark, when they’re less active.
*Immediately after getting stung, carefully remove any stinger left in your skin. It’s best not to pull the stinger out. Instead, gently and carefully scrape or tease it out with a sterilized knife. If no knife is readily available, you can use a fingernail or even the edge of a credit card instead. After a sting, be alert for signs of a reaction is developing.
*Once the stinger has been removed and the area cleansed, try one or more of the following home remedies to ease pain and swelling:
>Make a paste by adding a bit of cool water to baking soda, a crushed aspirin, or a crushed papaya enzyme tablet, and apply the mixture to the sting.
>Use charcoal tablets, available in health food stores, to make a poultice. Crush 2 tablets, then add 6 drops of liquid alcohol-free goldenseal extract to make a paste. Smooth the mixture on a sterile gauze pad and place it on the sting area. This will absorb the poisons and prevent infection. Use only charcoal recommended for internal use.
>Apply an ice compress to the sting area a few minutes every 2 hours for the first day after you’ve been stung. Not only will you reduce the swelling and pain from the sting, but you’ll be stopping the spread of venom.
>Apply lavender oil to the sting area to reduce inflammation and pain.
>Crush plantain leaves and squeeze out the juice. Apply this extract directly to the sting. Within 30 minutes, the pain and swelling should be greatly reduced.
*Try these as well: Rub toothpaste on the sting (its cooling effect can make the sting area feel better); apply calamine lotion to the area, or rub a meat tenderizer containing papain on the sting.
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