Clinical Characteristics of Allergy to Hymenoptera Stings

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The purpose of this study was to evaluate the clinical characteristics of allergy to stings from the Hymenoptera order of insects in a hospital in Thailand.


A descriptive retrospective analytical study was carried out in inpatients and outpatients suffering from Hymenoptera stings from 2009 to 2013 in Siriraj Hospital.


Medical records of 386 patients with an allergy to Hymenoptera stings were evaluated. Anaphylaxis was more common in patients younger than 15 years, who comprised 22.3% of patients in this study. The most common sting type was from wasps (58.3%). Eighty-five percent of patients sought medical treatment less than 24 hours after being stung. A systemic reaction and anaphylaxis were found in 9.9% and 4.4% of subjects, respectively. In 17 patients with anaphylaxis, only 11 patients (64.7%) received an epinephrine (adrenaline) injection as treatment, and only 8 (47.1%) received epinephrine autoinjectors or epinephrine-prefilled syringes to prevent a possible subsequent severe reaction. Significantly more patients younger than 15 years received epinephrine for prevention of an allergic reaction than did those older than 15 years (87.5% vs 11.7%, P < 0.001). Antibiotics were given to 43.0% of patients.


Anaphylaxis from Hymenoptera stings was more common in children than in adults. Only half of the patients visited the emergency room within 1 hour of being stung. Overuse of antibiotics and underuse of epinephrine were found. More information about Hymenoptera stings should be provided to the public, and the use of epinephrine should be encouraged in the case of severe reactions and anaphylaxis.

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