Exposure to insects is a common occurrence in Australia. In the past year there were over 2800 calls to the NSW Poison Information Centre regarding exposure to insects (not including spiders). Clinical effects of insects can vary significantly from envenomation (eg scorpions), dermatitis (eg caterpillars) and allergic reactions (eg bees & wasps). Generally the clinical effects are not life-threatening but can cause distress to the patient. Often in these scenarios it is impossible to know what the exact culprit was as often the insects are not seen at the time of the sting.
General first aid for insect stings consists of:
Life threatening allergic reactions to arthropods stings occurs in between 0.5-4% of an exposed population. Insect venom anaphylaxis almost always begins within half an hour of exposure with life-threatening allergy usually manifesting within minutes but may rarely occur as long as 24 hours after sting.
The areas to be covered in this topic are: