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As spring approaches, a growing health risk endangers the lives of one in 20 Americans. But if you take the proper precautions, you won’t be one of the 500,000 Americans who rush to the hospital this spring and summer.
The growing problem consists of allergic reactions to insect stings, particularly the reactions to yellow jackets. No one knows why these allergies are on the rise in the U.S.
For some people, immunotherapy, treatment with small doses of venom, can ease the reaction.
“While it does not always cure insect sting allergy, venom immunotherapy, a form of allergy shots, can almost always prevent severe reactions to stings,” says researcher David Golden, M.D. “It usually provides long-lasting immunity even after the treatment is stopped.”
To shrink your chances of being stung, the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) offers this advice:
- Wear pants and long-sleeved shirts when you garden or spend time outside.
- Don’t walk barefoot.
- If you eat or drink something sweet, watch out for insects looking for something to eat.
- Don’t wear perfume, hairspray or sweet-smelling deodorant.
- Don’t wear clothes with bright colors or flowered patterns.