I was stung and bitten by either a wasp or a hornet last Saturday. There was an obvious immediate reaction which ultimately led to a noticeable amount of swelling that covered 1/3 of my forearm. Even now, nearly one week later (6 days), the swelling has receded, but is still present (size is reduced to about 6 square inches).
Is this normal for a hornet/wasp sting, or would you say I'm allergic?
I'd see a doctor, because in some people, they have a forst reaction like yours, then the next time they are stung, they can have an anaphylactic reaction. These people need to carry adrenalin with them at all times.
It would be a good idea to always carry an antihistamine tablet in your wallet etc, so you can swallow it right away if you get stung. Benadryl 50mg is a good strong antihistamine, Zyrtec is also a good one, and works quickly
Absolutely, if you get stung again take Benadryl immediately, and seek medical attention if it starts to swell like crazy again. However, these reactions don't always get worse. I have a comforting story:
At 15 I had a sting that led to a reaction like yours--I was stung on the web between two fingers and most of my hand and half my forearm swelling. At 24 I was out hiking and got stung on my ankle. I (stupidly) didn't have ANY allergy medicine with me, and we were about 2 miles off this little county road into deep wilderness. I was afraid my foot would swell and I'd be in real trouble, but all that happened was I got a normal bee sting welt, an inch or two across.
Maybe it was a different species of insect, maybe I actually lost that allergy. Still, I always carry Benadryl in my pocketbook just in case I run into something that makes me swell up.
Since I'm allergic to bees(yellow jackets) and have had an anaphylactic reaction, I'd thought I'd add a couple of things.
It's not just a local reaction you have to watch for. Some people will have an systemic reaction and that is when you need immediate medical care. If you feel like your throat is closing or you start to wheeze and getting air in and out is hard, seek medical attention ASAP. But there is another reaction that may surprise you that is worse.....feeling faint. Anaphylaxis can cause your blood pressure to drop...badly...making you very light headed. Call an ambulance. This is when, if you carry an emergency adrenaline pen, you use it ASAP. Then call the ambulance.
This happened to me with the first allergic reaction and I didn't know. I just laid down and slept. But then I saw my primary doc the next day and my BP was low...very low...and I have high blood pressure. This was 24 hours after the sting. I learned my lesson and now have my injectors all ready.
But there is good news with bees. Most people lose their allergy to bees at a rate of 5-20% per year so after as little as 5 years with no stings, you have to be stung to sensitize yourself and then the next sting could be a problem. An allergist can test you to see just how much you've lost. My last test showed I had lost all allergic sensitivity to bees after 5 years....so I went out and got stung by a whole bunch of them shortly thereafter, pulling up weeds in my garden....pulled up an underground nest. It was a different type of yellow jacket but still.....I am so stupid!!!!!!!!!!
So watch for that faint feeling and if you have access to one, take your blood pressure. Know what it usually is(normal 120/80) and see if it is lower(like 90/60). Or if you wheeze and can't catch your breath or your throat feels tight....go get care.....it's better to go to the ER and be told you are okay then to wait and see and die.
The swelling went away in about a week. It was pretty bad and had me a little worried...Maybe I SHOULD carry around a benadryl...? Any suggestions on how to do this? (I'm a guy that doesn't use a wallet - just a money clip...)