One million at risk from stings in Spain

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ALMOST one million people in Spain are allergic to wasp and bee stings, according to the Spanish Society of Allergology and Immunology.

Between 15 and 20 people are at risk of dying every year due to this cause.

Specialist Arantza Vega explained that although most patients only suffer reddening, pain, itchiness and inflammation where the sting occurs, but “many could suffer general reactions such as hypotension, loss of consciousness and bronchospasm.” “Many people who suffer general allergic reactions to a sting are not sent to a specialist” she says, “and therefore they are not correctly diagnosed or treated”. Most are seen at health centres and not given specific treatment.

The regions where most people are allergic to stings are in Andalucia, Galicia, Castilla y Leon and Valencia. Most stings occur in the summer because the insects’ activity is greater but also because there are more people outdoors. Vega recommends immunotherapy with purified venom extract to prevent reactions.

“We can’t predict who will have an allergic reaction to a sting” she explains, “but do know that people who have already had a reaction will have another, the same or worse, if they are stung again in 60 per cent of cases”.

Therefore, if someone has had an allergic reaction to a sting, they should see an allergologist (allergy specialist).

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