You’ve probably been bitten by a mosquito and felt the accompanying itch and irritation. You likely wanted to scratch like your life depended on it, because of your body’s reaction to the foreign invader’s saliva. An itchy arm is highly annoying, but it’s actually one of the more tame allergic reactions from a bite or sting.
When your body overreacts to a bite with histamine, many things can happen, like pain, redness, and numbness near or around the bite site, per the American College of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology (ACAAI). For example, a wasp or fire ant bites your arm, and the instant swelling and redness cause your left arm to tingle. Better Health Channel notes that the severity of your reaction can vary based on the person. Some people have an intense reaction to bites and stings from bees, wasps, and ants that can cause hives, extreme nausea, swelling of the face, and even difficulty breathing, known as anaphylaxis. This type of severe allergic reaction is a life-threatening emergency that requires immediate treatment, since it can cause death in about 1% of those that suffer symptoms, per 2017 research in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology in Practice.
Treating your symptoms is vital to ensuring you don’t have a severe allergic reaction, like removing the stinger, taking antihistamines, or using an epinephrine pen. Some people with allergies also take preventative action by taking allergy shots (via WebMD).