Insect allergies are extreme reactions to insect stings and bites. Bee stings and bug bites cause redness, itching and swelling in most people, but these reactions are usually mild and go away relatively quickly. People who have insect allergies, however, suffer severe reactions that can be life-threatening and may not go away as fast. Their immune system perceives the insect’s sting or bites as a more serious threat than it is, and the immune system overcompensates to try to fight the perceived threat.
The worst insect allergies can be immediately life-threatening and must be treated swiftly. For patients with these severe allergies, a doctor may prescribe epinephrine, which is adrenaline. This typically halts allergic reactions and can save lives. Importantly, it can be administered by the patient, so patients can bring it with them wherever they are in case of an insect bite or sting. If they ever have an allergic reaction, they can immediately administer the prescribed epinephrine.
Anyone who has severe or worsening reactions to bug bites or stings should consult an allergist as both bad reactions and ones that get progressively worse with each incident can be signs of insect allergies. Allergists can confirm whether patients have insect allergies. If they do, allergists can also suggest a course of treatment, possibly including epinephrine.
Whether a referral is needed to see an allergist depends on a patient’s health insurance plan. Some insurance companies require referrals for specialists, including allergists, but others don’t.
Generally speaking, health insurance will cover a visit to an allergist if it's medically necessary. All health insurance policies have their stipulations that detail what is covered, however, so patients should review their individual policies.
Please contact the office with any insurance related questions.