Most people are not allergic to insect stings and should recognize the difference between an allergic reaction and a normal or large local reaction. This will prevent unnecessary worry and medical expense.
The severity of an insect sting reaction varies from person to person. A normal reaction will result in pain, swelling, and redness confined to the sting site. Simply disinfect the area and apply ice to reduce the swelling.
A large local reaction will result in swelling that extends beyond the sting site. For example, a person stung on the forearm may have his/her arm swell to twice its normal size. Although alarming in appearance, this condition may persist for two to three days, and antihistamines and steroids are sometimes prescribed to lessen the discomfort.