A decrease in pressure, shortness of breath, severe swelling – these symptoms that appear after an insect bite require urgent medical attention. Indicates anaphylactic shock.
In Poland, about 2-5 percent. Residents are so sensitive to the venom of Hymenoptera (bees, wasps, bumblebees, wasps, ants) that they experience a general reaction to stings, including anaphylactic shock. It is estimated that up to 400,000 people may be at risk of systemic reactions to hymenoptera venom. People of all ages. Adults who stay outdoors for a long time, such as beekeepers, farmers, fruit growers, foresters and athletes, are most at risk. But children who spend more time playing outdoors, for example in parks, forests and playgrounds, are also at risk.
– The first insects now appear at the end of March due to climate change, which leads to global warming. Most patients are simply afraid of spring and summer due to the high activity of insects – explains Professor K. Marek Gottl, Allergist, President of the European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (EAACI), Head of the Department of Clinical Immunology at the Medical University of Wroclaw, adds that an allergic person who has already experienced an allergic reaction shows an intense fear of insects and being outside.
Insect stings – when is help needed?
Strong toxins accumulated in the venom of hymenoptera cause local reactions in each stinging person, such as:
- Constant itching.
However, if such reactions are very strong, and the swelling or redness of the skin covers a larger area at the site of the bite, then it should be borne in mind that the person is allergic to the venom of hymenoptera.
Fortunately, even strong local reactions, in the case of a sting in the arm or thigh, do not pose a threat to the patient’s life, unlike stings in the head area, especially the neck, because they can lead to severe shortness of breath – explains the professor. And Gottl adds: – The problem is, however, systemic reactions, i.e. generalized differently, ranging from mild, manifested as urticaria, and swelling, through slightly more severe nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, to very severe manifestations: bronchospasm, Low blood pressure and fast heart rate. Without immediate medical attention, severe reactions can be fatal.
How many people die from stings from Hymenoptera?
The risk of an allergic reaction may be up to 2%. Persons. Significant local reactions occur in more than 5-10 percent. Population. Unfortunately, some of them end with the death of the affected person.
According to the professor. The Jutela brand in Poland lacks reliable data on the number of patient deaths from stings. Extrapolating such data from the United States to Polish conditions, it should be assumed that every year in our country, as a result of an allergic reaction after exposure to the sting of the hymen, about 40-50 people die.
However, this is only the tip of the iceberg, this data is greatly underestimated. We will never know how many people actually die from a sting. If someone dies while riding a bicycle or after falling off a ladder, no doctor takes this possibility into account. The allergist believes that on the death certificate he often enters an unknown cause or dies due to circulatory and respiratory disorders.
Hymenoptera allergy – how is it treated?
Two types of treatment are used in case of allergy to the venom of the hymen.
- Symptomatic treatment to prevent death and severe complications. It is given to an allergic person right after an adrenaline sting.
- Causal Therapy – It’s About Allergen immunotherapy, which leads to the development of tolerance to a sting by a specific insect. This treatment lasts from 3 to 5 years, and its effectiveness is estimated at 90%.
According to the professor. The Jutela brand of allergen immunotherapy should be used by anyone with an allergy who has experienced severe systemic reactions, such as:
For them, desensitization is a life-saving treatment.
In Poland, immunotherapy against hymenoptera toxin is given by injection. There are two types of preparations available to allergists: water-soluble preparations with immediate release and preparations with a prolonged release. It is approved for outpatient use, due to the high level of safety, but there is no pharmacy compensation. This means that 95 percent. Patients who are allergic to insect venom allergy should receive treatment in a hospital. Only then is it free.
– In the case of outpatient desensitization, the mere administration of the immunotherapy is compensated, but the patient must purchase the preparation at the pharmacy. It should be remembered that desensitization is first carried out weekly, and after saturation is reached, the maintenance dose should be taken most often at intervals of four weeks for 3-5 years – explains the professor. Gottl adds that Poland is an exception in this regard, because in most European countries outpatient desensitization is done free of charge. However, in hospitals, only patients with severe reactions who need more careful monitoring after immunotherapy are given.
– Such a measure is not justified, neither in terms of substance, nor in terms of patient safety. It is a “past” in which both the patient and the system are lost – the professor emphasizes. And thanks to in-clinic desensitization, Marek Gottl adds, you can save a lot. The hospital is the most expensive part of the healthcare system.
– In Poland, desensitization is carried out only in 30 hospital centers, and many patients have to travel each time for treatment, at least several tens of kilometers in one direction – notes Grzegorz Baczewski, head of the Allergy Control Center, and adds: – Besides In hospitals, you waste several hours waiting to receive immunotherapy, which requires you to take a day off from work. These are huge costs. In the case of outpatient management, the duration of administration, including the entire visit, is approximately 60 minutes.
Both experts believe that the money saved could be spent on desensitizing other patients.
– Currently in Poland there are no more than 3 thousand people suffering from allergies. Persons. This is a very small group, and certainly many of them should be removed – the professor believes. Gotl.
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