The major complication of an insect sting allergy is anaphylaxis, also known as "anaphylactic shock. Signs of this emergency reaction include:

  • Hoarseness, throat tightness, or a lump in the throat
  • Wheezing, chest tightness, or trouble breathing
  • Tingling in the hands, feet, lips, or scalp
  • Lightheadedness, fainting or a sudden drop in blood pressure

If you or someone you are with experiences any of these symptoms, contact a medical professional immediately. Someone suffering from anaphylaxis may need an emergency administration of epinephrine. For someone who knows of an insect allergy, they may have an auto-injection epinephrine kit with them. Look to see if they have a kit; if you can't find one, call an emergency medical response team immediately. 

Administration of epinephrine may not be enough; someone who suffers an anaphylactic reaction may require additional medical care, including oxygen treatment, steroid administration, and other treatments. They may even need to stay at a hospital overnight. 


The site of a sting or bite can easily become infected. If you are stung or bit, be careful to avoid scratching the site and make sure to keep it as clean as possible. An infected bite or sting will require additional medical care. Learn how to tell if your sting is infected.