The summer months bring longer days, warmer temperatures, and backyard barbeques. But the warm weather also signals the arrival of some unwanted visitors such as mosquitoes. Nearly everyone reacts to mosquito bites in some way, shape, or form. Although the red, itchy bump should not be alarming, these can be a nightmare for people who have mosquito allergies or are sometimes referred to as “skeeter syndrome.”
A mosquito bite is itchy and usually results in a round red or pink skin bump on the area bitten. When a mosquito bites you, it releases saliva that causes localized redness, swelling, and itching. Contact must last at least six seconds for a reaction to occur. A mosquito bite can cause a variety of reactions but some experience more adverse reactions compared to others.
There’s no simple blood test to detect mosquito antibodies in the blood. Thus, mosquito allergy is mostly diagnosed by determining whether the red skin bump or areas of swelling and itching occurred after you were bitten by mosquitoes.
If you are allergic to mosquitoes, then some of these symptoms may appear after you were bitten:
According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI), people who are severely allergic to mosquito bites may experience a potentially life-threatening condition called anaphylaxis. This condition is characterized by throat swelling, generalized hives, faintness, or wheezing. Immediately seek medical attention when this happens.
The treatment for mosquito allergy would depend on how much the mosquito bite symptoms affect you. If they are not bothersome, then there’s no reason for treatment. However, if the bite makes you uncomfortable, you can take an antihistamine as these can help with swelling and lessen the risk of developing a reaction. You can also apply hydrocortisone cream to the bitten area. In cases of anaphylaxis, the use of an epinephrine auto-injector may be necessary. It may be best to keep one on you if you’ve been diagnosed with a mosquito allergy.
Your doctor may prescribe immunotherapy if you frequently experience adverse reactions to mosquito bites. This type of therapy may help cure your mosquito allergy.
During the summer, it may seem impossible to avoid mosquitoes but there are ways to reduce your chances of getting mosquito bites.
Mosquito allergy doesn’t cause any long-term illnesses or lifestyle intrusions when it’s properly managed. You just have to be aware of mosquitoes around you and have the right tools on hand in case you get bitten.
If you have had reactions to mosquito bites in the past, you could be allergic. Dr. Paul Jantzi is a board-certified allergist and immunologist, providing allergy treatments in Texas. Schedule an allergy testing with him and let him create a treatment plan for you!