What is a mosquito bite allergy?
Mosquito bites cause reactions in almost everyone. You may experience itching, redness, and swelling after a mosquito bite.
When a mosquito bites you, they pierce your skin with their needle-like mouth to suck your blood. Once they start to feed on your blood, they inject their saliva into your skin which causes the reaction to the bite.
Some mosquitoes can be infected by viruses like West Nile and dengue. They can also be infected by parasites like malaria. If you are bitten by an infected mosquito, you may have symptoms that are different from those commonly experienced after regular bites and allergic reactions to mosquito bites. But not everyone who is bit by an infected mosquito gets sick.
Signs and symptoms of mosquito bite allergy
Mosquitoes can be difficult to avoid but their bites are easy to identify. Here are the symptoms to watch out for if you are allergic to mosquito bites:
In severe cases of an allergic reaction to mosquito bites, you may experience anaphylaxis. This is identified by throat swelling, causing difficulty breathing, hives, feeling faint, wheezing. You will need to seek immediate medical attention if you have anaphylaxis.
There is typically a small amount of swelling around the bite. If you are having an allergic reaction, the swelling could take over an entire body part that you were stung on. In cases like this, you should not wait to seek medical attention.
A low-grade fever is common with allergic reactions. This is your body’s way of fighting off an infection.
Swollen lymph nodes
If you are allergic to mosquito bites, your lymphatic system may become inflamed. This will cause your lymph nodes to swell.
You may feel localized pain and tenderness in the area.
Causes of mosquito bite reactions
Mosquito bites can cause different types of reactions, which can range from mild to severe. There are different causes for how your body reacts to a mosquito bite. These include:
You might not know you have a mosquito allergy until you’ve had a severe reaction. If you are allergic to mosquito bites your swelling will be severe where you were bitten. You will also experience other symptoms that might require medical attention if you have not been diagnosed with a mosquito allergy.
Hypersensitivity to mosquito bites (HMB)
This is a rare condition where your body may develop large blisters or skin necrosis. The severe symptoms of this condition may go away after an episode, but it could return in more severe forms. High fever and a general feeling of fatigue or unwellness are associated with HMB.
Diagnosing mosquito bite allergy
If you have a severe allergic reaction to a mosquito bite, you will need immediate treatment from your doctor.
Discussing your symptoms with your doctor will help them diagnose a mosquito bite allergy. Your doctor may also order a skin test or blood test, which can be done by an allergy specialist. Test results are interpreted together with your current symptoms and medical history.
Treatments mosquito bite allergy
Before doing anything else, clean the area with soap and water. You can put an ice pack on the bite to reduce swelling and itching.
However, a severe reaction to a mosquito bite may cause anaphylaxis. If you are experiencing this you may need an epinephrine auto-injector. It may be best to keep one on you if you’ve been diagnosed with an allergy. It can be difficult to avoid mosquito bites.
Depending on the severity of your allergic reaction, your doctor may prescribe venom immunotherapy. This type of therapy may help cure your mosquito allergy.
American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology: “Immunotherapy for mosquito allergy.”
American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology: “Allergy Testing.”
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: “Mosquito bite symptoms and treatments.”
Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: “Skeeter syndrome.”
Seda, J. and Horrall, S. StatPearls, StatPearls Publishing, 2020.
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