Yellow-Jacket Stings – Once Stung, Twice Wary

 

 

 

Most of us are taught to keep our distance from hives containing yellow-jackets or bees, as one sting from either of these can cause a serious allergic reaction.  Interestingly, although both yellow-jackets and bees carry stingers and are similar in appearance, yellow-jackets are better known as “wasps,” and as opposed to bees, do not carry pollen.  These insects belong to the Hymenoptera species, which is characterized by toxic venoms responsible for serious allergic reactions, known as anaphylaxis.  Although science has been unable to ascertain who will be susceptible to a life-threatening reaction and who will not, what we do know is that age is an important risk factor given that adults manifest more severe reactions than children.  While most stinger-related allergic reactions are limited to the development of a small area of redness on the skin, some can cause immediate respiratory and cardiovascular collapse, leading to death.  Therefore, it is critical to know and recognize the signs and symptoms related to anaphylaxis.

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