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Home > Health Hub > Article > Can you be Allergic to Mosquito Bites?

Can you be Allergic to Mosquito Bites?

Medikoe Health Expert

Medikoe Health Expert

  Koramangala, bengaluru, karnataka, india, Bengaluru     Feb 9, 2017

   4 min     

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Mosquito bites are the hallmark of warmer weather. Most mosquito bites are harmless, but some can cause complications. Mosquitoes bite because they are attracted to human blood. The bite, which might not appear until hours later, creates a bump that is typically swollen, sore, or itchy. Some people are allergic to stinging insect venom and hence are at risk of much more serious infection. This life-threatening reaction is called anaphylaxis. An allergic reaction occurs when the immune system overreacts to an allergen.

Why are mosquito bites itchy?

Mosquito bites itch and swell because of the body's histamine response. When a mosquito bite breaks the skin, a person's body recognizes the mosquito's saliva as a foreign substance. Histamine increases blood flow and white blood cell count around the affected area, which causes inflammation or swelling.

There are five types of insects which causes the most serious reactions:

  • Yellowjackets which are black with yellow markings.

  • Honeybees have round, fuzzy bodies with dark brown and yellow markings.

  • Paper wasps are slender with black, brown, red and yellow markings.

  • Hornets are black or brown with white, orange or yellow markings.

  • Fire ants are reddish-brown ants living in large mounds, mostly in warmer climates.

Symptoms                              

The normal reaction that takes place in the area of the bite includes pain, redness, and swelling at the site of an insect sting. Serious allergic reactions symptoms are:

  • Swelling of the face, throat or tongue

  • Difficulty breathing

  • Dizziness

  • Stomach cramps

  • Nausea or diarrhea

  • Itchiness or hives over large areas of the body

Diagnosis

Allergy testing is done by pricking a small portion of skin and a very small amount of allergens are put into it. If you have allergies, the swelling will occur in about 15 minutes where the allergens were introduced. Blood tests are also done. Here are some ways on how to prevent mosquito bites.

Mosquito bites treatment and management

  • Avoid bright-colored clothing and perfume when outdoors.

  • Be careful while cooking, eating or drinking sweet beverages like soda or juice.

  • Wear closed-toe shoes and avoid going barefoot to steer clear of stepping on a stinging insect.

  • Avoid loose-fitting garments that can trap insects between material and skin.

  • Consult the doctor immediately if symptoms get worse.

Prevention of Mosquito bites

Preventing mosquito bites is always more effective than trying to treat them, given the potential seriousness of the diseases that can transmit during the bite. So its best to know how to avoid mosquito bites. The best way to prevent mosquito bites are: 

Limit exposure to mosquitoes by-

  • Avoiding outdoor activities when they're most active, dusk to dawn
  • Repairing any tears in the screens on your windows, doors and camping gear
  • Using mosquito netting over strollers and cribs or when sleeping outdoors

Use insect repellent

The most effective insect repellents include one of three active ingredients:

  • DEET

  • Icaridin (also called picaridin)

  • Oil of lemon eucalyptus (a plant-based compound)

Home remedies for mosquito bites

Mosquito bites often result in a small bump that can be itchy and uncomfortable. Home remedies include applying ice, honey, or aloe vera to reduce irritation. Methods of prevention include using mosquito repellent and covering exposed skin. Home remedies can help reduce the itchiness and discomfort of a mosquito bite. 

  • Ice: Cold temperatures slow the rate of inflammation. Avoid putting ice directly on the skin, wrap it in a cloth or towel first. Applying an ice pack to the area as soon after a bite as possible will reduce inflammation, itching, and discomfort. 

  • Antihistamines: Histamine is a chemical that the body releases as part of the inflammatory response to a mosquito bite. It is histamine that causes itching, and antihistamines help to prevent histamine from taking effect. HIstamine comes in topical creams that a person can apply directly to the bite. Mosquito bites swelling is caused by histamine, which is produced by the immune system.

  • Concentrated heat: Applying heat to a mosquito bite may help reduce the inflammation and itching.

  • Aloe vera: Applying aloe gel to a mosquito bite may help relieve the inflammation and soothe the itching. One species of aloe, Aloe littoralis, has been shown to reduce inflammation and encourage wound healing in animal studies.

  • Honey: Honey is antibacterial and may help wounds heal. Natural honey may help reduce the symptoms of a mosquito bite when applied to the affected area. It is essential to wash it off before going outside, as it can attract mosquitoes and other insects.

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