Medical history for allergies to insect stings

Your health professional will ask you several questions to determine whether you could be having an allergic reaction to an insect sting. Questions may include the following:

  • What did the insect look like? What color was it? Did it have any distinctive patterns or other markings?
  • If you saw the nest, what did it look like? Was it in the ground or in a shrub or tree?
  • Where were you and what were you doing when you were stung? How did the insect behave? Did it seem angry or agitated? Was it provoked?
  • What part of your body was stung? Did the insect leave a stinger behind? Did you remove the stinger? If so, did you keep the stinger? (This may help identify the insect.)
  • How many times were you stung?
  • Have you ever had a previous allergic reaction to a similar sting? Have you ever had a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) to a sting?
  • What are your main symptoms? When did they begin? How have your symptoms developed, progressed, or changed since the bite or sting?
  • Are you currently taking any medications or are you allergic to any medications?

You may be asked to capture or kill the insect and bring it in for identification.

You may be asked about previous stings and what reactions (if any) you may have had. Your doctor will also try to determine whether you have any medical conditions that might affect your risk of future allergic reactions or your choice of treatments for the allergy.

Last Updated: January 13, 2010

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