Allergic Reactions to Mosquito Bites: Causes, Diagnosis, and Treatment

Mosquito is a seemingly harmless insect, which feeds on almost anything. However, female mosquitoes need human blood to survive. Mosquitoes insert their long proboscis in human skin and release saliva. This saliva contains proteins that prevent human blood from clotting and also keep the blood flowing in the mouth of the mosquito. In fact, it is this protein that induces allergic reactions to mosquito bites in some people.

Reaction to Mosquito Bites
The symptoms of mosquito bite can differ from person to person. Also, the symptoms can appear immediately or they may be delayed. The peculiar reaction to mosquito bite is swelling around the bite that itches a lot. A red bump may erupt after some time, if the person scratches the bitten area. Excessive scratching may lead to infected mosquito bite, which may require a separate treatment. Mosquito bite reactions subside within hours or a day at the most. Getting mosquito bites over a period of time eventually decreases the severity of symptoms, as the body develops immunity against these proteins. Allergic reaction to mosquito bites in children is pretty common as they are yet to develop an immunity against mosquito bites.

Allergic Reaction to Mosquito Bites
People who suffer from allergic reactions are said to be suffering from ‘Skeeter syndrome’. The symptoms of Skeeter syndrome are large bumps, swelling that does not limit to the bite area, bruising, blisters, etc. In rare cases, it may develop into angioedema, anaphylaxis or it may worsen the symptoms of asthma. Skeeter syndrome is pretty rare and affects people who have a history of similar reactions.

Risk Group
Although mosquitoes can bite anyone, there are certain people who are more prone to mosquito bites and the allergic reactions originating from them. As per a research, 2 million Americans are at risk of developing allergic reactions from bees, wasps, mosquito stings. Given below is the risk group for allergic reactions to mosquito bites.

  • Workers working in swampy areas.
  • People staying near open drains or marshy areas.
  • Children and other people with weak immune system.
  • People suffering from immunodeficiency diseases like AIDS and cancer.

If you belong to this risk group, the only way you can prevent the allergic reactions is by preventing the mosquito bite itself. If it’s not possible to avoid the place where mosquitoes inhabit, at least make sure you cover yourself well.

Diagnosis and Treatment
The diagnosis is made depending upon the results of skin test which uses ‘mosquito whole body extract’. Radio Allergo Sorbent Test (RAST), is a very effective test which detects the presence of IgE against various allergens performed on blood taken from the patient. Treatment for allergic reaction involves use of corticosteroids or oral antihistamines. Anaphylaxis can be treated by taking insect bites shots. Taking Cetirizine hydrochloride on a daily basis during summers (when mosquito bites are very common) also helps a great deal to people with known mosquito allergies.

While allergic reactions to mosquito bites are indeed worthy of attention, the real trouble from mosquitoes comes in the form of malaria and dengue. These two diseases are pretty common in tropical countries. They could endanger the life of a person if proper treatment is not received.

As mentioned above, prevention is the best way to treat allergic reactions to mosquito bites. Use of insect repellent with diethyltoluamide (DEET) or netted masks are the best protections against mosquito bites. Also, it would be wise to carry your anti allergy medications while treading in mosquito inhabited area. Although, it is rare for a mosquito bite to develop into some serious medical condition, it is better to consult a physician, if you experience some unusual symptoms like breathing difficulty or excessive swelling of any body part.

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