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Stinging Insects

Phadia’s i1 honeybee, i2 bald-faced hornet, i3 eastern yellow jacket, i4 paper wasp, i5 yellow jacket and i71 mosquito tests are used to detect blood antibodies (IgE) responsible for allergic reactions to various stinging insects in Canada. Allergies are usually insect-specific, but it is not impossible to develop true double allergies. Cross allergies are possible between different types of wasp (i2, i3, i5), but rare between wasps and paper wasps or between wasps and bees. The interpretation chart accompanying the result expresses the probability of an allergic reaction to each insect venom tested, but not necessarily the severity of the reaction. Case history (symptoms, insect identification, elapsed time from the sting, etc.) and clinical examination by the physician are essential for a reliable interpretation of the results.

A negative anti-insect IgE result (< 0.35 kU/L) indicates that the specific insect is probably not responsible for the symptoms reported by the person, but it DOES NOT COMPLETELY RULE OUT THIS POSSIBILITY. Severe reactions have been reported even with IgE levels below 0.35 kU/L. Both negative and positive results must be interpreted in light of the case history. Identifying the stinging insect helps establish the diagnosis and choose the best desensitization treatment.

Term of the Week

Hot zone

A hot zone is a section of a facility (sometimes an entire facility or even a city district) where there is a high risk of contamination by patients with an infectious disease. All individuals entering a hot zone must respect appropriate protective measures. By analogy, “cold zone” and “warm zone” are used to refer to areas where there is no infected individual or only individuals suspected of having an infection.