Mosquito Bite Allergy Symptoms, Cause & Treatment
It is very well-known that mosquitoes carry diseases such as malaria and dengue. Many individuals are sensitive to mosquito bite, but some people are allergic to mosquito bites and can have adverse reactions. While male mosquitoes are not harmful because they feed only on water and nectar, the female mosquitoes are the real culprits that are out for the blood. A mosquito bite is not very painful, but it can create physiological responses in human beings. If such a bite lasts for more than 10 to 15 days, it is recommended to see a medical professional and get your allergy treated.
Causes of Mosquito Bite Allergy
The female mosquito insects her proboscis on the exposed area of the victim’s skin to draw the blood. This blood is used by the mosquito to develop new eggs. After a mosquito bite, the skin often becomes itchy and inflamed. This is because, when a mosquito bites, it releases saliva, which contain proteins. These proteins dilate the blood vessels and prevent clotting, which makes it easier for the mosquito to draw the blood. Moreover, these proteins activate the mast cells, cells of the immune system, which release histamine, a compound that causes inflammation and gives rise to symptoms of allergy.
Symptoms of Mosquito Bite Allergy
As per the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI), to produce a reaction, a contact with the mosquito must be for minimum 6 seconds. Severe symptoms include:
- Blistering rashes
- Anaphylaxis, a life-threatening condition that requires immediate medical attention and causes shortness of breath, loss of consciousness, low blood pressure and rapid pulse
In case of severe allergic reaction, seek medical help quickly.
Diagnosis and Tests of Mosquito Bite Allergy
There is no particular blood test to diagnose and confirm allergy to mosquito bite. Your doctor will diagnose such an allergy by observing large, red areas of itching and swelling, which occur after a mosquito bite on your skin. Tell your doctor if there are mosquitoes in your house or in the area where you live. Inform your doctor about the symptoms and for how long do they last. This will help the doctor understand better about the allergy.
- Males are more prone to mosquito bites than females
- Children are at a higher risk as compared to adults
- Wearing dark colored clothes will attract the mosquito and increase the risk
- Being overweight or obese increases your chances
- Mosquitoes are attracted to heat. Therefore, people living in hot and humid climate or tropical regions are at a greater risk
- Mosquitoes are attracted to individuals who apply perfumes or shampoos and lotions with a strong fragrance
- Individuals with blood type O are more susceptible than individuals with blood type A and B.
Treatment of Mosquito Bite Allergy
- Anti-histamines: These drugs work against histamine and help in relieving symptoms of allergy such as itching, redness and swelling
- Having bath with cold water without using any soap can also help
- Use topical anti-itch lotion or mosquito repellent
- Epinephrine pen: Keep an epinephrine pen with you in case of anaphylaxis
- A cold compress or ice cubes can be applied on the affected area to reduces itching, redness and swelling
- Anti-inflammatory medications: These medications help in reducing inflammation associated with mosquito bites
- Application of a paste made from baking soda and water at the site of mosquito bite helps in reducing redness, swelling and itching
Consult your healthcare provider if the swelling and redness continue to increase.
- Wear light colored cool clothes that absorb less heat
- Limit your application of lotions, shampoos and perfumes with a strong fragrance
- Remove standing water near your residence
- Wear clothes that cover your arms and legs completely, for example- a full-sleeves shirt or a long pant
- Use a mosquito net over your bed while sleeping
- You are more likely to be bitten by a mosquito during dusk and dawn. Try to cover yourself during these times of the day to avoid contact with the mosquito