Wasps: there is the vaccine against anaphylactic shock

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For children allergic to insect venom at the Baby Jesus of Rome specific immunotherapy totally effective against severe allergic reactions

Original article posted on StradeNuove.net

October is one of the riskiest months for children allergic to poison of wasps, including wasp Orientalis, reported in swarms in recent weeks especially in the capital. It is in this period, in fact, that the largest number of specimens in circulation is concentrated before the winter “stop”. Cons forms of dangerous reactions such as anaphylactic shock in case of accidental puncture, the Child Jesus Children’s Hospital is active a service of specific vaccination (desensitizing immunotherapy) that can be accessed by children and young people diagnosed with severe allergy to hymenoptera venom (wasps, bees, hornets).


Allergy to the poison of insects such as wasps, bees and hornets, consists in 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, one can speak of a real allergy when other symptoms appear such as urticaria, swelling in the throat, swelling in the lips and asthma, up to anaphylactic shock, that is, a serious drop in pressure that can also have fatal outcomes.

Hymenoptera stings trigger allergic reactions in about 2 out of 100 people. Fortunately, among children the phenomenon is much less frequent than in adults. However, precisely because of the poison of insects, every year in Italy from 5 to 20 people die (among adults and children).


Desensitizing immunotherapy, commonly called ” vaccination”, is a life-saving therapy for all children and young people at high risk of anaphylactic shock or allergic reactions of medium to high intensity. It consists in the subcutaneous inoculation of increasing doses of the poison of the insect to which you are allergic, starting from extremely low dosages. In this way the organism progressively “gets used” to the poison until it reaches a tolerance threshold that prevents serious reactions in the event of an accidental sting.

“The vaccine should be continued for 5 years and the effect is usually maintained for many years after the suspension of treatment – explains Prof. Alessandro Fiocchi, head of Allergology of the Baby Jesus – but the treatment is fully effective already from the twelfth month: if the child is accidentally stung he no longer risks anaphylactic shock”.


Desensitizing immunotherapy is one procedure which should be conducted exclusively in a highly specialized allergy Center, under close medical observation. The Baby Jesus, during the treatment, the team of allergists is also supported by an anesthesiologist-resuscitator ready to intervene in case of need. For access the service – designed for subjects who manifest reactions such as to suspect the presence of a serious allergy to insect venom-it is necessary to make a request for ” allergy examination”.  After that, the specialists of the Hospital will assess – depending on the case – the need to start the vaccination procedure. Il Bambino Gesu 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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