Insect Sting Allergy: Reduce Exposure

Reviewed by David Tinkelman, MD
Knowing how to lessen the risk of being stung is an important part of learning how to care for yourself or someone else with insect sting allergy. For a child, make sure that all caretakers also are taught how to respond when avoidance strategies fail and a sting occurs. This means being prepared to treat insect sting reactions in a variety of settings including at home, school, day care, friend's houses and all other sites where the child spends time. 
  • Wear protective clothing while outside to decrease exposed skin. Wear long pants when hiking or mowing the grass and wear gloves while gardening.

  • Wear white or light colored clothing. Dark clothing and clothing with flowery designs are more likely to attract insects.

  • Wear shoes rather than bare feet or sandals.

  • Use unscented deodorant and rinse off perspiration after vigorous exercise. Insects are attracted to the scent of deodorants and perspiration.

  • Avoid the use of strong smelling perfume, cologne, hair oil, hair spray or lotions because insects may be attracted by their fragrance.

  • Cover food and drinks at outdoor events as much as possible. Outside garbage should remain covered. The smell of food attracts insects.

  • Use insect repellents and keep insecticide available.

  • Do not knowingly approach or disturb the nests of stinging insects.

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