MCAS & Insect Stings: A Friendly Reminder

I was going through some old posts on my housewife blog when I was reminded of the day that the universe played a huge cosmic joke on me.

Or was it a joke? Hmmm.

All I remember is panicking when I stepped out of the shower and realized how close I came to being stung by a wasp, yet again, in the safety of my own home!

It wasn’t the first time a rogue wasp tried to kill me. I had been stung three times in the previous year, once indoors and twice in the yard, and each reaction was worse than the last.

Sadly I didn’t know at the time that I was suffering from mast cell disease or that I was having anaphylactic symptoms, and lucky for me a few Benedryl tablets calmed things down each time.

That doesn’t mean the next one won’t be “the one”, though!

The fact is, those of us with MCAD are at higher risk of having a fatal reaction to insect stings and bites, so we have to be extra careful. Some mast cell disease patients are even recommended life long venom immunotherapy.

Here’s what just a few of the researchers at PubMed are saying about the subject:

Patients suffering from mastocytosis and Hymenoptera venom allergy are at risk from a particularly severe sting anaphylaxis.

Patients with mastocytosis and Hymenoptera allergy require special attention, mainly because of reduced safety and efficacy of venom immunotherapy. Whether or not venom immunotherapy is given, such patients should continue to carry an Epipen indefinitely.

In all patients with anaphylaxis following hymenoptera stings, baseline serum tryptase should be determined. A value above 11.4 microg/l is often due to mastocytosis and indicates a high risk of very severe anaphylaxis following re-stings. Venom immunotherapy is safe and effective in this situation.

Now that I know the risks based on my own reactions, I try to keep my epipens handy at all times and my phone charged in case I need to call 911.

I also have this handy anaphylaxis emergency chart printed out so I know exactly what to do if it happens again (it’s for food allergies but can apply to insect sting/bite reactions, too):

Notice that last bit in the blue up there? Ha. Yeah, I definitely won’t be relying on Benedryl to save me next time.

Hopefully there won’t be a next time (are you listening, universe?)!

 

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