Has the continued presence of COVID-19 left you anxious about visiting your healthcare professional for treatment of your stinging insect allergy? Providers around the country are committed to keeping patients safe during visits. So, should you resume your venom immunotherapy treatment for your bee, wasp or hornet allergy? Even during a pandemic, normal allergy testing and VIT treatment is vital.

Like many, you may have been avoiding public spaces, choosing instead to spend time outdoors in your own yard, the local park, or on bike trails. Being outdoors is essential for our physical and mental health; but, for the 5-7.5% of Americans who are hypersensitive to insect stings [1], a sting when recreating outdoors could lead to a trip to the emergency room. And, since fewer than 30% of allergy patients carry an epinephrine at all times [2], choosing a proactive treatment could be life-saving.

We asked allergy expert Marc Thomas to offer his insights on allergy immunotherapy during COVID. Marc has been a nurse for over 40 years specializing in both allergy and emergency medicine.

Q: I currently carry an epinephrine auto injector (EAI). Why should I consider VIT?

A: I can tell you this, I would much rather prevent those reactions than deal with the consequences. One should not rely on an epinephrine auto injector alone. With venom immunotherapy being [up to] 98% effective [3] any patient with a whole body reaction needs to look into this treatment. And those who are on it, need to maintain it during this pandemic.

Q: I am concerned about COVID-19. Is it safe for me to go to my allergy doctor for diagnosis or shots?

A: No doubt you may have some fear of going to the doctor right now, but don’t let that stand in your way of this life-saving treatment. Thank you.

Want to learn more about VIT? Check out our FAQ page.

If you’ve had a severe reaction, Venom Immunotherapy (VIT) may be an option to treat your bee and wasp allergies. Click here to Find a VIT Provider in your area.

[1] Ludman, Boyle. (2015). Stinging insect allergy: current perspectives on venom immunotherapy. Journal of Asthma and Allergy, 2015(8), 75-86. doi: 10.2147/JAA.S62288

[2] Goldberg, A., Confino-Cohen, R. Insect sting-inflicted systemic reactions: attitudes of patients with insect venom allergy regarding after-sting behavior and proper administration of epinephrine. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 106 (6): 1184-1189, 2000

[3] Golden. Insect Sting Anaphylaxis. Immunology and Allergy Clinics of North America, Volume 27, Issue 2, May 2007, Pages 261-272.