• Doctors warn of allergic reactions to insect stings


    PITTSBURGH - Matthew Wild, of Franklin Park, doesn’t mow the lawn as much anymore.

    Not after he ran over a wasp nest and was stung.

    “I got covered in hives and my face started to get numb,” he said.

    It was his second sting in less than a month, but this time with a far worse reaction.

    His mother, Kelly, took no chances and got him an appointment with an allergist.

    “The fear is the third sting and the anaphylactic shock,” she said.

    “It's a life-threatening problem and unfortunately there are deaths each year,” said Dr. Deborah Gentile, director of research at Allegheny General Hospital Allergy.

    About 50 Americans die each year from bee or wasp stings.

    Fall is typically the time of year when stinging insects are most aggressive and active.

    The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) reports that more than 500,000 people are sent to the emergency room every year due to insect stings.

    Gentile said it usually takes two stings for a person to develop an allergy.

    “You have to be exposed to something before you become allergic. We call that being sensitized,” she said. 

    Wild isn’t taking any chances.

    He now carries an EpiPen with him, a life-saving shot of medicine that can reverse allergic reactions, and his brother handles the bulk of the lawn mowing.

    Still, his family knows danger buzzes all around them.

    “They're everywhere and with our yard we end up with multiple ground bees' nests,” said Kelly Wild.

    “I'm always keeping an eye out for them. I'd rather not get stung again,” said her son, Matthew.

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