Fear not. We are not suggesting you devote the next three years of your life to actively annoying wasps in order to get stung 70 different times. However, for victims of anaphylactic shock due to wasp stings, Guy’s Hospital in London has created a solution.
When a Wimbledon Win Leads to a Wasp Attack
Here’s a scenario where our London Wasp Control team could have helped. For one tennis fan, a celebratory lap round the garden when Andy Murray won Wimbledon turned into a terrifying wasp attack! After disturbing a hidden wasp nest, Gavan Naden, a freelance journalist from South London, found himself being chased by a swarm of angry wasps. After finally ridding himself of the determined pests, he started to swell and ended up in A&E being treated for anaphylactic shock.
Once fully recovered and home, he developed a fear of going outdoors in case he got stung again. Anyone who has suffered anaphylactic shock is at a majorly heightened risk of suffering an even more serious attack if stung again by a wasp. Each year, 2-9 people in the UK die following allergic reactions to wasp stings and 2015-2016 saw 4,451 were hospitalised for anaphylactic shock.
Immunotherapy Programme to Combat Anaphylaxis
Nadan’s GP referred him onto an immunotherapy programme at London’s renowned Guy’s Hospital, offered to people who have gone into anaphylactic shock following a wasp sting.
The intense programme entails weekly visits for three months, when wasp venom is injected into the arm, in increasing amounts to build up tolerance slowly and safely. Once a certain level is reached, the patient attends every six weeks for the rest of the three-year period for a dose equal to 2.5 wasp stings.
The aim of the treatment is two-fold: to build up a patient’s immunity to wasp venom, and consequently give those who develop a phobia of being stung again the confidence to venture back outdoors.
In some countries, the treatment is tested by patients placing their hand in a box of wasps with the aim of getting stung, with reactions being monitored closely afterwards. However, in the UK a more ‘time will tell’ approach is used and doctors ask for feedback if and when someone is stung.
Other Options to Combat Wasp Sting Allergies
Despite the 90% success rate of the immunotherapy programme, not everyone is keen to be injected every few weeks for three years of their lives. Others simply can’t fit it into their schedule. A few other options are available, but come with different levels of restriction:
- Permanently carrying around an auto-injector filled with adrenaline. In the event of being stung, previous anaphylactic shock suffers must inject themselves and get to a hospital immediately.
- Wearing long-sleeved tops, trousers and always wearing shoes. Not ideal when on a beach on your holidays!
- Covering food. Easier said than done when trying to enjoy a summer barbeque!
- Never drinking from a bottle or a can. Those cold, crisp beers just don’t taste the same out of a glass!
Of course, the other option for precaution is calling in Top Dog Pest Control to carry out a wasp-proofing survey on your London property. Reducing the amount of wasps around you premises will significantly reduce the risk of your being stung. Read our article on Top 10 Tips: How to Wasp-Proof your London Home for more information.
Author: This article was written by Dean Mannion, Senior Pest Control Technician for Top Dog Pest Control who provide London wasp nest removal services.