Female Mosquitoes Cause Bite Allergies
The female mosquito bites her host to get a blood meal, but the blood is not nourishment for her. She needs the nourishment for her eggs. Females have a syringe-like appendage that they use to penetrate the skin and inject saliva into your bloodstream. The saliva contains a protein that prevents your blood from clotting, so she can get a good meal.
The anti-coagulant protein is an allergen that mixes with your blood, causing the swelling, itching and redness in the bite area. The degree of itching and discomfort caused by mosquito bites can vary by person, and some people may not be bothered by the bite at all.
Male mosquitoes do not bite people or animals. They get their nourishment from plant juices. Plants contain nectar and other sweet juices that male mosquitoes feed on instead of people.
Mild Mosquito Bite Allergies
You can expect redness and itching after a mosquito bite, and this is the most common reaction for most people. For some, the effects aren’t felt until after several bites, but others may start itching and notice a small lump right away.
Mild mosquito bite symptoms can include any or all of these reactions:
A white puffy bump minutes after a bite occurs
Swelling around the bite area
Itchy feeling that lasts a couple of days
You can treat mild mosquito bite reactions at home. Mosquito bites generally stop itching on their own, but you can apply calamine lotion or a topical hydrocortisone cream to the affected area if itching persists.
Moderate Mosquito Bite Allergies
If you or a family member has an immune disorder, a mosquito bite may cause more of an allergic reaction. If you have a moderate reaction, you may have one or all of the following symptoms:
Fever of 101° Fahrenheit or lower (low-grade fever)
Swelling and redness that affects a large area
Swelling of the lymph nodes
You can treat these symptoms with antihistamines for itching and hives, and ice for localized swelling and redness.
Severe Mosquito Bite Allergies
Severe reactions to mosquito bites may require medical treatment. They can lead to anaphylaxis, which is a life-threatening allergic reaction that requires emergency medical treatment.
People with a severe mosquito allergy can have some or all of the following symptoms:
Large hives and joint swelling
If you know you have an allergy to mosquito bites, it’s important to seek treatment immediately. Symptoms of anaphylaxis include the following:
- Throat swelling
- Localized hives
- Swelling of the eye, tongue or face
Anyone who has had a severe allergic reaction to mosquito bites should carry an Epi-Pen. This way, epinephrine can be injected while waiting for emergency medical professionals to arrive.
Skeeter syndrome is a type of mosquito bite allergy. It’s rare, and it mainly affects young children, people with autoimmune disorders, and others who have not previously been exposed to mosquito bites.
Skeeter syndrome can produce many uncomfortable symptoms, such as the following:
- Red lump in the bite area
- Large bumps and swelling in different areas than the bite area
- Severe itching
- Blisters and bruising
- Infection from scratching
- Asthma (occasionally)
- Anaphylaxis (rarely)
These symptoms may appear immediately or a few hours after a bite. Skeeter syndrome is often misdiagnosed as cellulitis, which is a bacterial skin infection that causes inflamed, red skin. Cellulitis requires antibiotics to cure it, while skeeter syndrome does not.
Skeeter syndrome symptoms can last for several weeks. You can treat mild cases of skeeter syndrome at home by taking the following steps:
- Clean the blistered area carefully with mild soap and water; don’t break blisters open.
- Elevate the red swollen area to help reduce swelling and pain.
- Apply over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream or calamine lotion.
- Take an antihistamine if itching is bothersome at night.
Call a doctor if the redness and swelling do not improve within a few days or if signs of infection develop. Fever and increased redness can indicate a possible infection.
Tests for Mosquito Bite Allergy
How do you know if you or your children are allergic to mosquito saliva? You don’t, until you get bit. If you’ve been bitten before and only suffered a mild reaction, you are most likely not allergic to mosquitoes.
With children, it’s slightly different. If your child has had limited exposure to mosquitoes, he or she may have an unknown allergy. You won’t know unless the child is bitten and has a moderate or severe allergic reaction.
Many different varieties of mosquitoes exist, so it’s possible for you to be allergic to the protein in one mosquito’s saliva and not another. Allergy testing is not always reliable. The lack of blood tests and mosquito salivary preparations make mosquito bite allergy testing difficult, which leads to underdiagnoses of the condition.
Allergies Are Not the Only Mosquito Threat
While not everyone has moderate to severe allergic reactions to mosquitoes, everyone is at risk for contracting the viruses caused by mosquitoes.
Mosquito are known to carry a variety of diseases. The biggest threat to people in the United States is West Nile Virus. This symptoms and severity of this virus can vary by person. For some, the symptoms are so mild that they don’t know they have contracted it. Others experience severe symptoms that affect the spinal cord and brain. People over 50 years of age are at a higher risk of contracting West Nile Virus than younger people.
About 20 percent of people bitten by infected mosquitoes will develop West Nile Fever, while the other 80 percent will have mild symptoms or no symptoms at all, according to the World Health Organization.
Mild West Nile Virus symptoms include the following:
- Body aches
- Joint pain
- Ongoing fatigue
Most people with these symptoms heal completely. West Nile Fever symptoms are more serious and severe and include the following:
- High fever
- Muscle weakness
- Stiff neck
Recovery from West Nile Fever can take weeks or months, and some of the neurological effects may be permanent. Hospitalization may be required in severe cases.
There are no anti-viral drugs or vaccines to help protect people against West Nile Virus, so your best protection is to prevent bites from virus-carrying mosquitoes.
Who's Most at Risk?
Mosquitoes seem to prefer some people over others when looking for a host. Overweight men seem to attract more mosquitoes, but researchers aren’t sure why. Mosquitoes are attracted by a combination of exhaled carbon dioxide, scent and chemicals contained in your sweat.
It is also suggested to wear white or light-colored clothing outdoors during mosquito season. When you wear dark colors, you absorb more heat, which attracts mosquitoes.
Because different species of mosquitos have differences in their saliva, not having an allergic reaction to mosquito bites doesn’t mean you never will. You can be allergic to mosquito bites from a species that you haven’t been exposed to in the past. This would explain why some people have an extreme allergic reaction to a mosquito bite when visiting friends or family in another state.
Each bite puts you at a higher risk of mosquito viruses, like West Nile Virus, and people with certain medical conditions, such as the following, are more at risk than others:
- Kidney Disease
- High blood pressure
The best way to prevent illness or allergies due to mosquito bites is to avoid being bitten.
Preventing Mosquito Bites
Protect you and your family from reactions to mosquito saliva by preventing bites. You can do this in several ways:
- Stay indoors during peak mosquito hours
- Wear light-colored clothing when outdoors.
- Spray your skin with a repellent that contains DEET.
- Place a mosquito net over your child’s stroller or playpen.
Larval Control is also important to reduce bite risks. Dumping out any standing water around your property reduces the mosquito population by limiting their breeding area. Females lay eggs in water and young larvae rely on nutrients found in water to survive and pupate to adulthood. Walk around your property and empty any old tires, wading pools, bird feeders or dog bowls that contain stagnant, standing water.
If you and your family spend a great deal of time outdoors, you should consider an effective, long-term mosquito control method.
Long-Term Methods of Mosquito Control
A long-term solution to your mosquito problem can reduce the risk of bites and allergic reactions. These methods help control mosquito populations and make it safer for you and your family to spend as much time outdoors as you wish.
Mosquito misting systems are a long term solution to control mosquito populations. They work by releasing a fine mist of insecticide to kill mosquitoes in your yard. You can attach the nozzles on fences around the home to eliminate mosquitoes and prevent them from entering your yard.
Misting systems often use pyrethrin or permethrin. These insecticides can pose a risk to beneficial insects and to people if not used properly. However, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) considers them a low risk.
Mosquito traps can reduce the mosquito population around your home. Mosquito Magnet® is a mosquito trap that is scientifically proven to cut down on the number of mosquitoes in your yard. The traps turn propane into carbon dioxide and mix it with just the right amount of heat, moisture and secondary attractant to draw mosquitoes to their death.
This safe and effective method of mosquito control uses a vacuum to suck in the mosquitoes it attracts. Once inside, the mosquitoes dehydrate and die within 24 hours. While the trap begins to work right away, it can take up to a month to break the mosquitoes breeding cycle.
Mosquito Magnet® is easy to use and maintain, and you’ll need a few accessories:
- Propane to convert to CO2
- Nets to collect dead mosquitoes
- Quick Clear cartridges to clear fuel line clogs
- Secondary attractant to improve catch rate
Every 21 days you’ll need to change the propane tank and purchase a new net, Quick Clear cartridge and secondary attractant. Changing the net regularly is the key to optimum trap performance. When the net is clogged with mosquitoes or pollen, dust and dirt, the trap cannot function properly.
Mosquito Magnet® offers 4 different trap models: Patriot, Independence, Executive and Commander.
The Patriot Model runs on electricity and has a 50-foot cord, which allows you to cover a wide area of your property. The traps protect an area up to one acre. The cord frees you from recharging or replacing batteries several times a year.
Cordless, the Independence Model runs on 4 ‘C’ batteries. It also protects up to one acre of area. Because there is no cord, you can move the trap to a different area, so it’s always where you need it most.
The Executive Model runs on electricity, but has a rechargeable battery that can hold charge throughout mosquito season. This allows for flexibility in trap placement. It also covers a one-acre area.
The Mosquito Magnet® Commander is the first-ever wireless-enabled mosquito trap that lets you conveniently check the status of your trap anywhere, in real-time. Combined with "Smart" fuel saving technology and over 20 years of research, the Commander offers the best in mosquito protection.
Wireless technology is the key driver in this latest addition to the #1 selling Mosquito Magnet® trap line.
Mosquito traps are an investment and a proven way to dramatically reduce the mosquito population on your property. They are also backed by 18 years of research.
Recognize the Start of Mosquito Season
If you or one of your family members is more at risk for developing an allergic reaction to mosquito bites, or if you simply want to protect your family from bites and potential viruses, you should have a plan in place.
It is wise to act before mosquito season starts. Many people believe summer is the start of mosquito season, but that’s not the case. Mosquitoes begin breeding in spring, once temperatures reach 50° Fahrenheit. Order your mosquito trap a few weeks in advance.
Once you set up the mosquito trap, it begins releasing a steady stream of carbon dioxide, heat and moisture to attract mosquitoes. The trap does all the work, while you and your family enjoy your outdoor property.
Trust Mosquito Magnet®
Entertaining and enjoying the outdoors is something many families enjoy. Take pleasure in a great spring, summer and fall season without worrying about mosquito allergies and viruses.
Contact us to learn how you can control mosquitoes in your backyard or other outdoor property.
Protect your family, pets and guests from disease-carrying mosquitoes with a Mosquito Magnet® trap - the leading long-term,
scientifically proven mosquito control solution