Kids Don't Outgrow Allergy to Stings

by Christina Elston

If your child has a serious allergic reaction to a bee or wasp sting, he or she should undergo allergy shots for future protection, according to new recommendations by researchers at Johns Hopkins University. The researchers have discovered that one in five children do not outgrow these allergies, and remain at risk for another life-threatening reaction.

Allergy shots are now recommended for all kids who experience breathing problems following a bee sting, according to Paul V. Williams, M.D., spokesperson for the American Association of Asthma, Allergy and Immunology. A three- to five-year course of injections can offer protection for 10 to 20 years.

Williams recommends that children with insect sting allergies also have injectable epinephrine available; the life-saving drug restores breathing during a severe allergic reaction. Kids should also take steps to avoid stings, Williams says.

“They shouldn’t go barefoot in the grass. They should wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants outdoors, with fairly tight cuffs and sleeves so insects can’t get into their clothes,” he says. “If they drink sweet liquids outdoors, they should put the drink in a clear cup so that they can see if there is an insect in the cup.”

Related reading:

What’s New in Our Understanding of Allergies?

Helpful Allergy Resources.

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Christina Elston is a freelance writer and editor who specializes in family health issues.