Purpose of review: Insect allergy remains an important cause of morbidity and mortality in the United States. In 2011, the third iteration of the stinging insect hypersensitivity practice parameter was published, the first being published in 1999 and the second in 2004. Since the 2004 edition, our understanding of insect hypersensitivity has continued to expand and has been incorporated into the 2011 edition. This work will review the relevant changes in the management of insect hypersensitivity occurring since 2004 and present our current understanding of the insect hypersensitivity diagnosis and management.
Recent findings: Since the 2004 commissioning by the Joint Task Force (JTF) on Practice Parameters of ‘Stinging insect hypersensitivity: a practice parameter update’, there have been important contributions to our understanding of insect allergy. These contributions were incorporated into the 2011 iteration. Similar efforts were made by the European Allergy Asthma and Clinical Immunology Interest Group in 2005 and most recently in 2011 by the British Society of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.
Summary: Our understanding of insect allergy, including the natural history, epidemiology, diagnostic testing, and risk factors, has greatly expanded. This evolution of knowledge should provide improved long-term management of stinging insect hypersensitivity. This review will focus primarily on the changes between the 2004 and 2011 stinging insect practice parameter commissioned by the JTF on Practice Parameters, but will, where appropriate, highlight the differences between working groups.