When a mosquito bites, she has to inject a thinning agent into your blood in order to siphon it through her proboscis (that’s the long, skinny “straw” on her head that she uses to pierce the skin). Most people’s bodies, when bitten, form a small, itchy bump as a result. Some people, however, have a much more extreme reaction to this mosquito saliva, a condition known as “skeeter syndrome."
Individuals with skeeter syndrome develop extreme localized swelling and redness in the area of the mosquito bite, usually within hours. But sometimes it can take up to 48 hours for a serious reaction to manifest. Regardless, these reactions are very similar to the reaction that people allergic to bee stings get. The swelling can be so extreme that the affected limb doubles in size, eyes swell shut, and the area can be hot and hard to the touch. Systemic reactions are possible as well, but these are rare. Nausea, hives, swelling of the lips and mouth can occur. It can also come with fever and even anaphylactic shock or asthma, which can be life threatening.
Who is most susceptible to skeeter syndrome?
While it can affect people of all ages, skeeter syndrome usually happens to children, toddlers, and seniors because of lower levels of immunity. Healthy adults generally have “built up a tolerance” to mosquito bites and do not usually have reactions as extreme as this.
There are some cases of individuals with no prior history of an adverse reaction to mosquito bites developing skeeter syndrome symptoms rather suddenly. The reason for developing a sudden allergy isn’t known, although it’s been linked to an autoimmune reaction to the enzymes in the mosquito saliva. However, because there are several species of mosquito whose saliva contain slightly different enzymes, it’s very possible to be allergic to a certain species, or a few species, or mosquito while having a “normal” reaction to others. This might explain why some people with no history of mosquito allergies can develop extreme reactions when traveling to different regions.
How is it treated?
Treatment for skeeter syndrome can be anything from compressions with hot cloths and elevation, cortisone and other topical creams, or oral antihistamines. People who are known to have extreme reactions should carry an epinephrine auto-injector or EpiPen. An Epipen will stop immediate loss of airflow, but these types of reactions should send you straight to a hospital.
The best way to avoid allergic reactions from mosquito bites is to avoid mosquitoes in general. If you have young children or seniors that spend any amount of time in your yard, they are especially vulnerable to the possibility of skeeter syndrome. Mosquito Squad’s barrier treatment spray is the most effective way to eliminate the mosquito population on your property. We guarantee nearly 90% fewer mosquitoes for up to three weeks straight or your money back. Call us for a free consultation at (912) 348-8247 to learn how we can help protect you and your loved ones from mosquitoes, ticks, and the diseases they carry. We look forward to helping you take back your yard!