Skateboard pioneer Andy Kessler died earlier this week from an allergic reaction to an insect sting. His death is a dark reminder of the dangers that insect stings carry.
Severe allergy (considered potentially life threatening) to insect stings are quite rare and occur in less than 5% of the US population. According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, at least 40 people in the US die each year from insect stings.
Some people have severe reactions to the stings of bees, wasps, hornets, and yellow jackets. It may be hard to tell which type of insect has stung you because many insect reactions are similar. Some stings are more dangerous than others, however. If you experience any of the below
symptoms following an insect sting, seek medical care immediately:
- Hives, itching, or swelling in areas beyond the sting
- Swollen lips, throat, or tongue
- Difficulty breathing
- Hoarse voice
- Dizziness or loss of consciousness