What Are Your Mosquito Bite Reactions Telling You?
You’re trying to enjoy your backyard on a lazy summer afternoon. Just as you’re thinking, “well, isn’t this nice”, that humming buzz starts. Then comes the swatting.
Mosquitoes. They are annoying and have a unique talent for making your outdoor living space the last place you want to spend time.
Photo Credit: Gilles San Martin
Not all mosquitoes bite, though. The female consumes blood for purposes of breeding, not because it’s a tasty snack. The proteins found in our blood aide the development of their eggs. Thus why females bite and males typically do not.
In order to draw our thick blood, mosquitoes inject enzyme-laced saliva that acts as a thinning agent. It’s our body’s reaction to this saliva, not the bite itself, that causes those itchy bumps. However, not all people respond to mosquito bites in the same way. Actually, the kind of reaction you experience after a bite can tell you something (sorry, it’s not the future).
5 Types of Mosquito Bite Reactions and What They are Telling You.
1. No Reaction at All
You’re one of the lucky ones. You get no welts, no bumps, no itching. You’re the source of envy amongst family and friends. This simply may mean that your body does not have allergic reactions to mosquito saliva. It may also mean that you’ve developed immunity over time. According to Dr. Andrew Murphy with the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology “when a person has had repeated exposure to the mosquito allergen, her immune system can stop recognizing the allergen as a problem, and there is no reaction.” Sweet!
2. The Classic Little Red Bump
This is the kind of bite that we are most familiar with. These small, round, white-ish colored bumps, often with a dot in the middle, are the most common form of reaction to mosquito bites. They’re typically itchy and firm up and turn red within the first day or two of being bitten. These symptoms are part of a mild allergic reaction to the proteins in mosquito’s saliva. Because there is a vast variety of mosquito species, each with their own unique enzymes, some may cause you a reaction, while others do not.
3. Big Fat Welts
Photo Credit: Saskia Heijltjes
You’re the sensitive type, huh? Large, slightly raised welts with a reddish color often indicate that some one is more sensitive to proteins in mosquito saliva. According to Dr. Jorge Parada, medical director of the Infection Control Program at Loyola University, some studies indicate that these larger welts may also be a function of a longer mosquito feeding time. Essentially, the longer it takes for a mosquito to bite the more proteins can be released into your body. Yuck!
4. Skeeter Syndrome
Despite its silly sounding name, skeeter syndrome is no laughing matter. This extreme form of allergic reaction is accompanied by symptoms such as skin swelling, fever, redness, pain or severe blistering. Skeeter syndrome can affect anyone, however, children, folks with compromised immune systems, and travelers exposed to new species of mosquito are at particular risk. Skeeter syndrome symptoms may appear soon after a bite or can appear up to 48 hours after. If you are concerned with the severity of you or your loved one’s response to mosquito bites talk to your doctor about steps you can take.
Bites cause openings in the skin where bacteria can enter. Thus, bites have the potential to become infected. This can be especially so after prolonged itching that turns to a bite into a more pronounced wound. The three main types of infections are: Impetigo, Cellulitis, and Lymphangitis. Impetigo is common amongst children. It is typically accompanied by sores around the nose and mouth. Cellulitis (not cellulite) is a bacterial infection of the skin. Symptoms include redness, pain and tenderness, swelling and heat on the site of infection. Fever and chills may also be experienced. Lymphangitis is an infection that causes painful red streaks just below the skin’s surface and effects the body’s lymphatic system. Do not ignore the signs of an infection. If you think you may have an infection it is important to seek out assistance from a medical professional.
Prevention is the Best Solution
Now you know a little bit more about the various kinds of reactions mosquito bites can cause. The next step is prevention. Mosquito Rx provides effective mosquito control services for your home or business. Call us today at 516-858-0020 to discuss the solution that's right for your family.
Citation: Material for this post has been drawn from Prevention Magazine “What Your Reaction to Mosquito Bites Says About You”