Last year I wrote a blog about the link now clearly established between wasp stings and heart attacks.
It attracted a lot of attention and so at the start of the wasp season, I think it needs to just be highlighted again as this is pretty conclusive and serious stuff.
Whilst wasp stings have always been regarded as extremely painful and it has long been recognised that individuals who are allergic to the wasp sting venom are at high risk of anaphylactic shock, little else has been linked to other adverse effects to our health.
Annually, it is estimated that in excess of 400,000 people seek medical advice regarding wasp stings, of which approximately 1,000 are hospitalised, and in the region of 12 people die from wasp stings, but frighteningly, recent medical research suggests this number could be in the thousands due to mis-diagnosis of heart attacks.
Greek physician, Dr Nicholas Kounis has discovered the link between an allergic reaction of the heart leading to acute myocardial infarction (or Heart Attack) brought on by wasp stings. This has been termed Kounis Syndrome.
Unlike other allergic reactions, with Kounis Syndrome there are frequently little or no other symptoms of this allergic reaction except for a heart attack. More recent and ongoing research is uncovering a delayed Kounis Syndrome which reveals that a heart attack may occur anything from 48hours to 2 weeks after a sting.
Kounis Syndrome is not restricted to wasp stings, but can be brought on by a number of agents like ant bites, jelly fish stings etc.
For more information of Kounis Syndrome check out this wiki entry
I do a lot of work for care homes where they have a large population of elderly people who are particularly vulnerable to wasp stings as they often do not hear or see a wasp landing on them. Luckily, these care homes are really on the ball and call Rapid Pest Control in at the first signs of a wasp nest or a wasp problem. This makes life easier for them knowing I am at the end of the phone and will respond very quickly when they call (we prioritise anything that puts people at risk – kids, elderly etc) and for us its great to help in this way.
They take no chances and neither should you. The DIY wasp control products are fine if you really want to do it yourself, but just ask “Is this worth the risk to save a few quid?” before you go to treat a nest without proper PPE and chemicals proven to work at professional strength.