If you are one of the people who are oblivious to the fact that an allergy to mosquito bites exists, you are not the only one. An allergic reaction to mosquito bite can be common in most people with sensitive skin, but the manifestations of the allergy will easily go unnoticed because the repercussions are not as severe as with a bee sting allergy, or a food allergy.
The allergic reaction is caused by the injection of a tiny dose of saliva under your skin before the female mosquito sucks blood from your body. The mosquito’s saliva contains a type of protein that allows it to feed better. It is this injected saliva that can trigger an immune system reaction.
The symptoms would appear to be a classic mosquito bite: itchy, red skin. Again, they look like normal harmless bites, which is why the allergy usually goes unnoticed.
What will be odd about these bites is that they do not go away as easily. The swelling is larger than usual, and the skin could blister, bruise, or the hives may last for days or even weeks. However, it is rare that severe allergic reactions involving other body systems may occur.
The cases of allergic reactions decrease with age. Both children and young adolescents are more likely to have a mosquito bite allergy than adults who may have already developed immunity to the mosquito’s saliva.
However, if it has been quite some time when you were last bitten by a mosquito, you might suffer an allergic reaction the first time you will be bitten again. However, the first bite might not affect you, but the subsequent bites will show evidence of an allergy.
Why are some allergic to mosquito bite and others not?
The question is, why do some people swell, itch, turn red at every mosquito bite and some have no reaction at all? Another one is why do some people seem to get all the bites and others are completely left alone.
I have two daughters – one is constantly battling mosquitoes, the other never gets a bite. One is scab ridden, itchy and band aid covered while the other maintains her flawless kin. Our joke is that she is too mean for the mosquitoes (she’s really very sweet, but…). So why one and not the other? They’re usually together, doing the same thing, around the same mosquitoes.
But there are theories out there about why some mosquitoes are drawn to certain people, mostly body chemistry. Apparently body temperature, carbon dioxide emitted and blood type are attractants for these annoying bugs. Type O people are the most attractive to mosquitoes. While it’s annoying to get bitten more than others, it also can be more dangerous because of the infections mosquitoes carry.
Relief tips for mosquito bite allergy
But back to the annoying part. When you are covered in bites and they are swelling and itching (because of course, some people re more allergic than others), what is your best remedy? I found an interesting site (www.tipnut.com) with an article listing over 40 itch relief tips for mosquitoes. Here are a few (I’d use my own judgement on a few of these…):
“Mix these fresh then apply to bite as soon as possible. The consistency should be nice and thick so it won’t run, yet will still stay in place on the affected area. You could also spritz bite with water then apply grains/powders directly (generously) and rub them in.
1. Baking Soda & Water (works for me)
2. Meat Tenderizer & Water
3. Salt & Water (works for me)
4. Epsom Salt & Water (could also do this as a foot soak if it’s the ankle/foot area affected)
5. Tums Tablets: crush and add a few drops of water
6. Aspirin: crush then add a few drops of water
7. Aspirin – crush then apply a few drops of rubbing alcohol
Essential Oils: Apply full strength directly to bite area. Edit: There are concerns about using essential oils on children and pre-teens, especially repeated use.
1. Tea Tree Oil
2. Lavender Oil
3. Witch Hazel (astringent)
4. Cedar Oil”
And of course you have your Caladryl and Calamine lotions…
The only way to prevent an allergy from being triggered by mosquito bites is to do everything to avoid being bitten.
The most common preventive measure is to use insect repellent when you are outdoors. Personal repellants containing DEET work best. However, check the labels first before you use them on children. Repellants containing more than 10 percent DEET should not be used on children under age 6 years of age. In warmer climates, avoid frequenting marshes and swampy areas.
Have netting set up around your front porch or patio. Maintain window and door screens and make sure any trace of holes in the net are fixed to avoid mosquitoes from accidentally entering your home. Wear long pants and long sleeved shirts that will cover your arms and neck area as much as possible.
Decrease the situation where mosquitoes can breed. Throw out stagnant water on your surrounding property. Places where stagnant water can accumulate are in pails, containers, jars and garden pots that may have accumulated rain water when left outside.
If you have already been bitten, sooth the allergic skin reactions with topical anti-itch creams and lotions to alleviate the itching. For larger bites, antihistamines can be used. Although rare, if there are any symptoms that suggest an anaphylactic allergic reaction, go to an Emergency room right away.
Consult an allergist today for proper advice and treatment if you find that you might be allergic to mosquito bites.