Insect Allergy

Prim Care. 2016 Sep;43(3):417-31. doi: 10.1016/j.pop.2016.04.010.


Insect bites and stings are common. Risk factors are mostly associated with environmental exposure. Most insect bites and stings result in mild, local, allergic reactions. Large local reactions and systemic reactions like anaphylaxis are possible. Common insects that bite or sting include mosquitoes, ticks, flies, fleas, biting midges, bees, and wasps. The diagnosis is made clinically. Identification of the insect should occur when possible. Management is usually supportive. For anaphylaxis, patients should be given epinephrine and transported to the emergency department for further evaluation. Venom immunotherapy (VIT) has several different protocols. VIT is highly effective in reducing systemic reactions and anaphylaxis.

Keywords: Allergic reaction; Anaphylaxis; Diagnosis; Insect bites; Insect stings; Treatment; Venom immunotherapy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anaphylaxis / etiology*
  • Anaphylaxis / immunology
  • Anaphylaxis / therapy*
  • Antivenins / therapeutic use
  • Epinephrine / therapeutic use
  • Histamine Antagonists / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Immunocompromised Host
  • Immunoglobulin E / blood
  • Insect Bites and Stings / complications*
  • Insect Bites and Stings / diagnosis
  • Insect Bites and Stings / therapy
  • Primary Health Care
  • Risk Factors
  • Skin Tests


  • Antivenins
  • Histamine Antagonists
  • Immunoglobulin E
  • Epinephrine