Understanding Mosquito Bite Allergy

Skeeter syndrome is commonly mistaken for a type of skin infection known as cellulitis, says Kara Wada, MD, an allergist and immunologist at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center in Columbus.

When the mosquito feeds, it pierces your skin and injects saliva. If you have skeeter syndrome, your body incorrectly views proteins in that saliva as harmful and the immune system responds in kind, resulting in an allergic reaction.

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Also known as “skeeter syndrome,” this inflammatory reaction is pretty rare. For those who are allergic to mosquitoes, however, it can have a big impact on their ability to enjoy the outdoors. Intense itching can even end up causing a skin infection.

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Normal Mosquito Bite vs. Skeeter Syndrome

Taking one of these medications every day during prime mosquito months may help people with skeeter syndrome. However, any medication can have side effects, so be sure to ask your healthcare provider before you decide to try this.

Anaphylaxis , the most severe type of allergic reaction, is a very rare reaction to a mosquito bite. It requires immediate medical attention. Symptoms of anaphylaxis may include trouble breathing, swelling of the tongue, lips or throat, hives, and feeling faint.

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Severe cases of skeeter syndrome may benefit from immunotherapy, a form of allergy treatment where you receive shots containing small amounts of the allergen.

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This article will help you learn to tell the difference between a normal mosquito bite and skeeter syndrome. It will also explain how skeeter syndrome is diagnosed and treated.

When taken before a bite, Zyrtec (cetirizine) has been shown to reduce local reactions to mosquito bites. Similarly, daily Claritin (loratadine) may help reduce reactions in children.

These reactions tend to occur in the first few hours after the bite.

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Normal mosquito bites can trigger immediate swelling and redness that peaks after about 20 minutes, followed by small itchy bumps that are usually less than 2 centimeters (about ¾ inch) in diameter, says Catherine Newman, MD, a dermatologist in Rochester, Minnesota.

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Summary

For kids in particular, natural immunity can take years to develop because it depends on how often they’re exposed to mosquitoes, according to a case study of toddlers and preschoolers with skeeter syndrome. Parents often try to keep kids with severe reactions away from mosquitoes, which stretches out the time it takes for children to build immunity.

Studies have found that mosquitoes prefer to feed on people with type O blood. The reasons for this are unclear. Blood type doesn’t seem to affect how many eggs a female can lay.

Understanding Mosquito Bite Allergy

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Skeeter syndrome, or an allergic reaction to a mosquito bite, is characterized by large red welts. With or without skeeter syndrome, scratching a mosquito bite until it bleeds can lead to bacterial infections.

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If you have had a severe reaction to a mosquito bite it is important to see an allergist, a doctor who specializes in allergic conditions like this.

Skeeter syndrome is a relatively rare inflammatory reaction to mosquito bites, according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. Symptoms may develop hours after a mosquito bite and can include a large area of swelling, heat, redness, itching, and pain that mimics what would happen with an infection.

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