VALHALLA, N.Y. -- If you're like most parents, you may be worried about your child developing an allergy to bee stings, especially during the summer months. However, there's little cause for fear according to the experts at Westchester Medical Center, as dangerous reactions to bee stings are present in only a small percentage of the population.
“Anaphylaxis to bee stings is much less common than people think — between .15 percent and .8 percent of children in the U.S are affected," said Dr. Subhadra Siegel, pediatric allergist and immunologist at Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital, a member of the Westchester Medical Center Health Network. "It is much more common for children to have a large local reaction, which is not typically life threatening.”
Identifying the differences between a normal, local reaction and dangerous anaphylaxis is important. Even if the affected region is painful and encompasses a large area, it's not necessarily the sign of an allergic reaction. Icing the sting and taking an antihistamine such as Benadryl can help reduce pain and swelling significantly. However, if a child begins to break out in hives across their body -- especially in and around the mouth -- and experiences difficulty breathing, they may be having a serious allergic reaction. In this case, parents should seek medical help immediately.
For more information on how to identify and treat both allergic and local bee stings, click here.