While a mosquito bite may be nothing more than an itching annoyance for most people, for those with a mosquito bite allergy, a bite could trigger symptoms that are much more painful and dramatic than the small red bump which is a typical reaction.
What exactly is mosquito bite allergy?
This allergy is also commonly called “Skeeter Syndrome,” though medical personnel are probably more likely to refer to the condition as HMB, or hypersensitivity to mosquito bites.
- Symptoms of HMB are most often swelling, bruising, hives or a rash, also known as urticaria, in the area where the bite occurred, though these symptoms may show up across the entire body part or limb as well.
- There are also rare cases in which a person might experience hives and/or swelling throughout their whole body.
- Meanwhile, those with asthma could also have an asthmatic response that makes it difficult to breathe.
When a mosquito bites you, they are actually injecting their snouts into your flesh and routing around in there as they seek out a blood vessel.
The snout contains the mouthparts of the insect, so as soon as they manage to insert it into a blood vessel, their salvia is released into the vessel and the surrounding area.
The presence of specific proteins in the saliva of mosquitoes prevents the vessel from clotting, which enables the bug to drink your blood freely for longer.
Unfortunately, these proteins also contain allergenic polypeptides which can cause an allergic reaction in some people. Because of this, common mosquito bite remedies don’t help.
The body’s natural reaction to these allergens is the release of immunoglobulin E (IgE), a type of antibody that is intended to help defend the cells that are the tissue in the area of the bite against damage or infection.
A mosquito bite allergy can occur when the cells with this IgE antibody attached begin to send out histamine, a chemical neurotransmitter that creates an inflammatory response in order to let your body’s immune system know of a problem that needs to be addressed.
That red, itchy bump that most people experience is actually a sign of histamine doing its part in helping the body to heal the insect bite, but a buildup of this chemical in one area is capable of causing the symptoms associated with a mosquito bite allergy.
Although a person with a mosquito bite allergy could be susceptible to anaphylaxis or severe urticaria or swelling, this condition is very rarely fatal and the symptoms will often disappear on their own within a few hours, or even sooner with treatment.
Do you suffer from a mosquito bite allergy?
Studies indicate that: “Highly sensitive persons may want to take oral antihistamines to minimize cutaneous reactions to mosquito bites.”