Which physical findings are characteristic of local reactions to Hymenoptera stings?

Updated: Nov 08, 2018
  • Author: Randy Park, MD; Chief Editor: Joe Alcock, MD, MS  more...
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Local reactions may include the following:

  • Erythema, edema, warmth, tenderness

  • Drainage from site of sting

  • Compromised distal circulation as result of edema

  • Distal sensation loss from stings over peripheral nerve

  • Corneal ulceration from corneal stings

  • With bee stings, stinging apparatus visible at sting site

  • If Hymenoptera are swallowed, painful swelling in the mouth or esophagus

  • Ant stings: Vesicles from fire ants, classic arc of fire ant stings, and ant stings on mucous membranes or conjunctival surfaces cause dramatic swelling in patients who are sensitive. See the image below.

  • Fire ant bites. In less than 10 seconds, an unwary Fire ant bites. In less than 10 seconds, an unwary scientist was stung over 250 times on one leg when he carelessly knelt on a collapsed fire ant mound. The sterile pustules developed to this stage in 3 days. US Department of Agriculture. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Urticaria or generalized redness may develop without systemic symptoms.

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