Home Health Allergic to insect bites? Infant Jesus vaccinates against anaphylactic shock

Allergic to insect bites? Infant Jesus vaccinates against anaphylactic shock

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Allergic to insect bites?  Infant Jesus vaccinates against anaphylactic shock

The beginning of autumn is risky for children allergic to insect bites, because October favors the formation of insidious and dangerous swarms of bees, wasps and hornets: Orientalis wasps have been reported in weeks especially in the city of Rome. It is in this period, in fact, that the greatest number of specimens in circulation are concentrated before the winter “stop”.

Precisely to ensure the necessary protection against dangerous reactions such as anaphylactic shock in case of accidental puncture, a specific vaccination service (desensitizing immunotherapy) has been activated at the Bambino Gesù Pediatric Hospital in Rome, which can be accessed by children and young people diagnosed with severe allergy to hymenoptera venom (wasps, bees, hornets). Il Bambino Gesù is one of the few Italian centers to administer this type of life-saving therapy to children and young people of pediatric age.

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Allergy to insect venom

But what are we talking about specifically? Allergy to insect venom, such as wasps, bees and hornets, consists of an exaggerated reaction of the organism to their sting. In addition to the normal burning, redness, pain and itching in the area of ​​the sting, we can speak of a real allergy when other symptoms appear such as hives, swelling of the throat, swelling of the lips and asthma, up to anaphylactic shock, or a severe pressure drop which can even be fatal.

Hymenoptera stings trigger allergic reactions in about 2 out of 100 people. And the phenomenon among children is much less frequent than in adults. But it is precisely because of insect poison that 5 to 20 people (adults and children) die every year in Italy.

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How the life-saving vaccine works

Desensitizing immunotherapy, i.e. vaccination, provided by the Bambino Gesù hospital, is a life-saving therapy for all children and young people at high risk of anaphylactic shock or medium-high intensity allergic reactions. It consists in the subcutaneous inoculation of increasing doses of the poison of the insect to which one is allergic, starting from extremely low dosages. In this way the organism progressively “gets used” to the poison until it reaches a tolerance threshold that avoids serious reactions in case of accidental sting.

“The vaccine must be continued for 5 years, and the effect is usually maintained for many years after discontinuation of the treatment – explains professor Alessandro Fiocchi, in charge of Allergology of the Child Jesus -. But the treatment is fully effective as early as the twelfth month: if the baby is accidentally stung, he no longer risks anaphylactic shock “.

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How to access the service

Desensitizing immunotherapy is a procedure that must be conducted exclusively in a highly specialized allergy center, under close medical observation. During the treatment, the team of allergists is also supported by an anesthetist-resuscitator ready to intervene in case of need.

To access the service, designed for those who show reactions such as to suspect the presence of a serious allergy to insect venom, it is necessary to make a request for an “allergological visit”. The hospital specialists will then assess, as appropriate, the need to start the vaccination procedure. The Bambino Gesù is one of the few Italian Centers to administer this type of life-saving therapy to the little ones and children of pediatric age.

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