Live In A Bee-Heavy Area? How Can You Know If Your Infant Is Deathly Allergic?

If you live in a part of the country with a relatively high population of honeybees or wasps, you may be worried about the risk of an allergic reaction in your infant or young child, especially if you have a family history of serious allergies to stinging insects. A child's smaller body and lower defenses to shock can mean serious injury in a matter of moments if you're caught unprepared. How can you know whether or not your child is allergic to bees or stinging insects, and what should you have on hand to provide protection in in the event your child is stung? Read on to learn more about these allergies and how new parents can prepare.

How can you know if your child is allergic to bees?

There are certain allergy tests that can be performed to determine if your child is likely to have an anaphylactic reaction to a bee sting. However, these tests are somewhat invasive and can have their own side effects, so it's best to just take basic precautions unless you have some strong indications (like a family history of allergies or one parent or grandparent who is deathly allergic to bees) that an allergy may be present.

In other cases, an allergy may suddenly manifest itself even after your child has been stung by bees or other insects without incident. If you notice your child's physical reaction to bee stings seems to be worsening significantly each time, it may be worth a visit to the allergist to see what's going on

What should you keep on hand to provide protection against bee stings?

If your child is allergic to bee stings and requires emergency medical attention, a shot of epinephrine should be enough to reduce any life-threatening symptoms like airway swelling or heart palpitations. Those who live far from the nearest hospital or ambulance service may want to have an epinephrine pen prescribed to have on hand just in case the need presents itself. 

Even if your child isn't allergic to bees, a sting can cause a great deal of pain and confusion. Keeping a cooling or medicated anti-itch spray on hand can provide nearly instant relief from pain and swelling. For toddlers and children old enough to take oral medication, a liquid antihistamine suspension can also go a long way toward reducing swelling and other symptoms if your child is uncomfortable for more than a few hours after the sting.