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From The Medical Letter on Drugs and Therapeutics
July 4, 2017

Anaphylaxis and Insect Stings and Bites

JAMA. 2017;318(1):86-87. doi:10.1001/jama.2017.6470

Anaphylaxis, a multi-system allergic reaction that is rapid in onset and may cause death, often occurs in community settings where it is typically triggered by a food, insect sting, or medication. The incidence of anaphylaxis is increasing in the US population. The greatest increase has been reported in food-related anaphylaxis, which occurs most commonly in the pediatric population.1 Vaccine-triggered anaphylaxis remains rare.2 Patients at risk for anaphylaxis in community settings should receive printed information about how to avoid their relevant triggers.3 Those who have had an anaphylactic reaction triggered by stinging insects should be instructed in insect avoidance measures and referred to an allergy/immunology specialist for immunotherapy with standardized extracts of insect venom or whole-body extract from fire ants.4

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