medical IDs for bite and sting allergies

Medical IDs for Bite and Sting Allergies

The confidence to live with bite and sting allergies

Insect bites and stings are common problems that all of us experience at one time or another. But what if a bite or sting is more than just an annoyance?

For many people, allergies to insect bites and stings can cause a bug encounter to be miserable at best and dangerous at worst.

When a person has an allergy, the body’s immune system reacts to an allergen (like an insect bite or sting) by releasing chemicals such as histamine, which cause symptoms like sneezing, stuffy or runny nose, cough, and itchy eyes, nose, and throat.

However, when an allergic reaction becomes severe, it can cause anaphylaxis, which is life-threatening. People who experience anaphylaxis due to insect bites or stings must take extra precautions. This includes carrying the rescue medication epinephrine at all times.

Wearing a medical ID for bite and sting allergies can be vitally important in medical emergencies.

How MedicAlert protects those living with bite and sting allergies

One thing you shouldn’t worry about is what could happen if there’s an emergency. MedicAlert’s protection plans offer benefits that extend beyond the ID, providing safety and peace of mind for people living with bite and sting allergies, their families and caregivers.

24/7 Emergency Response

Our team provides first responders the information they need to provide fast, accurate care.

Digital Health Profile

All your vital information, all in one place for you and your caregiver.

Emergency Contact Notification

In an emergency, we connect families so that no one is alone in a crisis.

Patient Instructions

Share the information that’s important to your care, such as use of rescue medications or contraindication for tests like MRIs.

Pair a medical ID for bite and sting allergies with the protection plan that’s right for you.

What exactly is a bite or sting allergy?

As mentioned above, an allergy to an insect bite or sting is when the body overreacts to the bite or sting, causing symptoms like sneezing, runny or stuffy nose, and itchy eyes, nose, and throat.

Typical irritation from a bug bite lasts for a few minutes to hours in someone without an allergy. When a person has an allergy to a bite or sting, it can last days, weeks, or months depending on the type of exposure and allergy.

It can also lead to a more serious, life-threatening reaction (anaphylaxis). Each year, it’s estimated that 3% of adults and less than 1% of children experience a life-threatening allergic reaction to insect stings.

The following are common insect allergies:

Stinging insects

These insects inject toxic venom when they bite. Their stings are the most common source of anaphylactic reactions related to insect bites and stings.

  • Yellowjackets
  • Bees
  • Wasps
  • Hornets
  • Fire ants
  • Spiders (rarely)

Biting insects

These insects can cause allergic reactions like itching, redness, and swelling around the bite, among other problems. Rarely, these allergies can result in a life-threatening allergic reaction.

  • Fleas
  • Bedbugs
  • Mosquitoes
  • Kissing bugs
  • Some flies
  • Lone star ticks (their bites can cause people to develop an allergy to meat)

Household pest insects

These insects can cause allergic reactions, but not due to bites or stings. Instead, allergies and asthma exacerbations happen when people have contact with the bugs or are exposed to their waste.

  • Dust mites
  • Cockroaches

What causes a bite or sting allergy?

As with any allergy, a person’s immune system recognizes the allergen (in this case an insect bite or sting) due to antibodies. Once the antibodies have identified the allergen, the immune system triggers the body to release chemicals including histamine to attack the “invader”.

If a person has a mild allergic reaction, they may sneeze, their eyes may water, and their nose might itch, for example.

However, sometimes the body will be hypersensitive to another exposure to the same allergen. If this happens, a severe life-threatening allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) can occur.

What to engrave on your MedicAlert medical ID for bite and sting allergies:

MedicAlert offers free custom engraving on all our medical ID products. Engravings on medical IDs for bite and sting allergies should include any critical medical information that can protect and save lives in an accident or medical emergency, for example:

  • Medical history, including any history of anaphylaxis
  • Known allergies
  • Medications you use, including an EpiPen
  • Any other important details that first responders should know
medical IDs for bite and sting allergies

Sample engraving. Consult our team if you need help engraving your medical ID for bite and sting allergies.

What are the symptoms and complications of a bite or sting allergy?

There is a range of symptoms that a person can notice with an allergy to insect bites and stings. Some are mild and may even be confused with a cold, or a person might have more moderate symptoms. In a worst-case scenario, severe symptoms lead to anaphylaxis. The following are some common allergy symptoms:

Mild allergy symptoms

  • Runny nose
  • Stuffy nose
  • Sneezing
  • Watery and/or itchy eyes
  • Itchy nose
  • Rashes
  • Redness

Moderate allergy symptoms

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach cramps
  • Bloating
  • Swelling
  • Pain
  • Hives

Severe allergy symptoms

  • Tongue swelling
  • Cough
  • Throat closing
  • Wheezing (a whistling breathing sound)
  • Chest tightness and trouble breathing
  • Feeling faint
  • Passing out
  • A sense of “impending doom”

It’s important to remember that an allergic reaction can become severe very quickly– within minutes– so even mild symptoms can be the start of anaphylaxis. 

Because of this, if someone is at risk of anaphylaxis, their doctor will prescribe an EpiPen for emergency use. This medication can be self-administered if a person suspects they are having an anaphylactic reaction.

Anyone at risk of a severe allergic reaction, and anyone who uses an EpiPen, should wear a medical ID for bite and sting allergies at all times. Insect bites and stings can happen anytime, anywhere, and in an emergency every second counts. 

If you have a severe allergic reaction to a bite or sting, a MedicAlert ID notifies first responders that you have a bite or sting allergy, and that you need an EpiPen to potentially save your life. If you can’t share this information yourself, you can count on a MedicAlert ID and Protection Plan to be your voice, 24/7.

How do you diagnose a bite or sting allergy?

Aside from symptoms that occur after a bite or sting that can indicate an allergy, it’s important to discuss allergy testing with your doctor.

They can refer you to an allergy specialist that can perform this testing, to help pinpoint which bites and stings you are allergic to. This can also help to make decisions about whether you should carry an EpiPen.

There are a couple of different tests an allergy specialist can perform to look for a bite or sting allergy:

  • Skin prick tests and intradermal testing– this kind of testing involves introducing a small amount of the allergen under your skin to see if you have a reaction

  • Specific IgE blood tests– also known as RAST testing, this test measures antibody levels in the blood compared to common allergens
Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) logo

We’re proud to partner with the Asthma & Allergy Foundation to provide tools and resources to help people with asthma and allergies live better lives.

How do you treat, manage, and live with a bite or sting allergy?

Once you know that you have an insect bite or sting allergy, there are some things you can do to treat and manage it so that you can live with fewer symptoms and reduce your risk of anaphylaxis.

The best way to manage a bite or sting allergy is to avoid the allergen. Here are some tips to help:

  • Have an exterminator remove any hives or nests near your home
  • Move slowly and quietly away from any stinging insects you see
  • Don’t wear perfume or brightly colored clothing outdoors (this can attract bees)
  • Never go barefoot outdoors. Closed-toed shoes are safest.
  • If you’re eating outdoors, cover food and drink that could attract bugs

It’s not always possible to avoid insect bites and stings, so your doctor may suggest medications like antihistamines, corticosteroids, decongestants, or ointments to manage symptoms from bites and stings. They may also prescribe an EpiPen in case of a severe reaction.

For some people, it may be recommended to have immunotherapy, a type of treatment that helps to teach the body to become less sensitive to the allergen.

How medical IDs for bite and sting allergies combined with MedicAlert  Membership provide peace of mind

Most people will experience itching, redness, and discomfort after an insect bite, but an allergic reaction has the potential to become something life-threatening. There is no test available that can predict how severe an allergic reaction might become, but there is a chance of this happening even if you’ve never had a severe reaction before.

People who have had any allergic reaction to an insect bite or sting can take steps to protect themselves in an emergency. This includes talking to your doctor about carrying an EpiPen in case of anaphylaxis and wearing a high-quality medical ID that lets first responders know that you have a bite or sting allergy.

  • We’re your voice:  If you can’t speak for yourself due to a medical emergency, your ID will speak for you – informing others about your bite and sting allergies and any medications you’re taking.

  • 24/7 emergency protection:  In an emergency, the MedicAlert team will relay all of your critical medical information to first responders, no matter where or when your emergency happens.

  • Always connected:  You should never be alone in an emergency. That’s why MedicAlert will reach out to your designated contacts if you are unable to do so.

  • Live with peace of mind and confidence:  MedicAlert will be there for you every step of the way. You’ll have the confidence and freedom to live your life with bite and sting allergies, knowing we’ve got you covered. 
DISCLAIMER: THIS WEBSITE DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. The information in this article is presented for educational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis and treatment. Always seek the advice of a physician or other qualified healthcare provider for any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.