Mysterious Itchy Bumps That Look Like Mosquito Bites But Aren’t.

With so many causes of itchy, mosquito-like bumps, it can be hard to identify the source. The common sources are insect bites, previous illness, or contact with a skin irritant or allergen (a normally harmless substance that provokes an allergic reaction).

By Patty Weasler, RN, BSN
Patty is a registered nurse with over a decade of experience in pediatric critical care. Her passion is writing health and wellness content that anyone can understand and use.

A contact dermatitis rash can vary in appearance. It can appear as a red, itchy patch on the skin or as small itchy, fluid-filled blisters.

Itchy Bumps on Skin like Mosquito Bites

Chigger Bites

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Guttate psoriasis is usually triggered by a streptococcal (strep) infection.

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Identifying What’s Triggering Itchy, Mosquito-Like Bumps All Over Body

Doctors can diagnose chigger bites by looking at them and asking about a person’s recent outdoor activities.

The bite of a parasite-infected mosquito can cause malaria, a rare occurrence in the United States, with only about 2,000 cases diagnosed in the country each year, according to CDC data (and the majority of those are in people who recently traveled to parts of the world where malaria transmission is more common). Symptoms are similar to the flu and can include fever, headache, muscle aches, nausea, and vomiting from 10 days to 4 weeks after the bite. Malaria is serious, but it’s good to know it is preventable and treatable, according to the CDC.

What Causes Itchy Bumps on Skin That Aren’t Mosquito Bites

I have bumps that look like mosquito bites on arms and back.

Chiggers are members of the arachnid family (the same family that includes spiders and ticks). They are smaller than a period at the end of a sentence. Most can only be seen with a magnifying glass.

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How Do Chigger Bites Happen?

Chiggers are a form of mite that inject their saliva so that they can liquefy and eat skin. In response to a chigger bite, the skin around the bite hardens. The surrounding skin becomes irritated and inflamed (pictured), and an itchy red welt develops.

If you cannot narrow down the cause, you should contact a healthcare provider. A healthcare provider can review your health history and determine if testing is necessary. Having a correct diagnosis will help you get started on the right treatment and provide faster healing.

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Flea Bites

Black flies (sometimes called buffalo gnats or “no-see-ums”) are also common throughout the United States and can bite (though they’re not known to spread disease), according to Spokane Regional Health District. They’re small in size and usually bite around the head, particularly the eyes, ears, and scalp. Their bites can cause swelling, numbness, and soreness that can last for several days.

Flea bites are itchy small, red bumps. They are usually found in groups of three or four on the body.

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